The Curious Story of an Ancient Craft
by Peter Bellerby
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Pub Date 17 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2023
Bloomsbury USA, Bloomsbury Publishing
“Beautifully conceived and skillfully executed . . . encourages the reader to linger and explore." —The Wall Street Journal
“Peter Bellerby’s tale of learning how to fashion worlds—a journey through history, science, craft, and passion—spun me on my axis.” —Dava Sobel, New York Times bestselling author of Longitude
The beautifully illustrated story of our globe and the globes it has inspired, told from inside the workshop of one of the world’s last globemakers, with four-color photos throughout.
Many of us encounter a globe as children. We find a grown-up and ask, “Where are we?” They spin the globe and point to a minuscule dot amidst a massive expanse of sea and land. Thousands of questions follow. A profound convergence of art and science, a globe is the ultimate visualization of our place in our galaxy and universe. To be a globemaker requires a knowledge of geography, skilled engineering, drawing, and painting, and only a few people in history have ever really mastered the craft.
When Peter Bellerby set out to make a globe for his father's eightieth birthday, after failing to find a suitable one to purchase, he had no idea where the process would lead. He went on to establish Bellerby & Co, one of the only artisan globemakers in the world. The Globemakers brings us inside Bellerby’s gorgeous studio to learn how he and his team of cartographers and artists bring these stunning celestial, terrestrial, and planetary objects to life. Along the way he tells stories of his adventure and the luck along the way that shaped the company.
A full-color photographic portrait of a lost art, The Globemakers is an enlightening exploration of globes, or “earth apples,” as they were first known, and their ability to show us ourselves and our place in an infinite universe.
A Note From the Publisher
Please note that due to the file size, this title is NOT available for Kindle.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 11 members
A beautifully illustrated and very informative book! Written in first person, you feel like the author is personally telling you the story of their fascination with globes.
An outstanding read! Every part of this book is so fascinating! I requested this ARC because I like to learn new random things and this is probably my favorite random thing I’ve read and learned. There’s so many little details that you’d think might not be important but they are and the craft is just so interesting. Also the book itself is beautifully designed, the illustrations and photos are gorgeous, I will definitely be buying a copy of this for my personal collection and requesting it be purchased at my library, we must own this!
Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Globemakers: The Curious Story of an Ancient Craft by Peter Bellerby is a fascinating look into both the craft of globemaking and creation of one of the only companies making handcrafted globes. This is a history, a how-to (which is well beyond what most of us can afford to do), and a love story.
The genesis of the company, and of the book, was the desire to give his father a globe for his 80th birthday. Turns out, to give a quality globe was easier said than done, so he set out to do it himself. As we take this trip with him, we learn about mapmaking, globemaking, our planetary history, and the joy of pursuing one's interests.
The writing is engaging, whether we are reading about the history or the process of making the globes, and the photography is exceptional. While I'm sure many of the pictures are at least somewhat posed, they make the reader feel like we're there observing the process as it unfolds. And the finished products are beautiful.
While those with an interest in globes will certainly find a lot to enjoy here, anyone who enjoys learning about how things we sometimes take for granted (albeit, for most of us, cheaper versions) are made will absolutely come away with an entirely new appreciation for the globes we often use for decoration. If you just enjoy reading how someone found a niche, explored it, then jumped in with gusto you'll have a great time in this book.
Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
I loved this book. The highlights are the autobiographical content, the vivid descriptions on how to make globes, the beautiful photos, and the clear conversational writing. It was more like having coffee with Bellerby than reading a book. A lot of the content is about Bellerby’s company but it does not come across as promotional, in part because Bellerby can be self-effacing and discusses his successes and failures. Bellerby also readily gives credit where credit is due to the people around him. This is one of those books where I will miss the author and his staff. Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for the advance reader copy.
Map making is fascinating and the history of it is even better. One learns about the way people in time thought of themselves and their place in the world. This is evident in this book and I highly recommend this.