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A World of Difference

The meticulous process behind bespoke globes

Credit: Julian Love
Credit: Stuart Freedman
Credit: Gareth Pon
Credit: Gareth Pon
Credit: Gareth Pon
Credit: Gareth Pon
Credit: Gareth Pon

Bespoke globes crafted by Bellerby & Co are a testament to the painstaking process behind the product. The company – founded by Peter Bellerby in 2008 after he had difficulty buying a personalised sphere for his dad’s 80th birthday – meticulously (and slowly) churns out these intricate items to unique specifications.

The first challenge is creating a perfect sphere. Peter and his colleagues fashion two half-spheres – fibreglass for the large ones, resin for the small – before they are weighted to rotate perfectly then glued together. The up-to-date map is printed, cut into strips called “gores” and applied to the ball in triangular or surfboard-shaped sections. Once the paper is wet and stretched across the complete sphere, the continents and oceans are hand-painted.

This application is the crucial aspect. “The most challenging part is wetting and stretching a piece of paper across a sphere without ripping, rippling or tearing it,” says Bellerby. A small mistake with one piece can ruin the whole alignment of latitudes. On the bigger globes, misplacement could result in a 2.4mm gap.

Since the company began, a great number of globes have been created featuring everything from remote towns with resonance for the customer, to a buyer’s lifetime of cruise routes marked out with illustrations of the ships and arrival dates, to a Moby Dick-themed orb.

The process can take up to six months. But, as the images show, the Bellerby team seem to have perfected the highly niche art of the personalised globe.



Credit: Ana Santl

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