Photograph by AARON TILLEY
Photograph by AARON TILLEY

The Tricks of Instagram’s Favorite Globemakers

Bellerby & Co. have built a cult following around an ancient craft. Here’s how they create their masterpieces.

This story appears in the July 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Peter Bellerby wanted to make a globe for his father’s 80th birthday. By the time he delivered the gift, two years later, Bellerby had sold his house and car to launch one of the world’s only bespoke globemakers. In the 15th century, artisans etched their maps into brass printing plates in reverse. It’s still delicate work for the London-based Bellerby & Co. team. Each surfboard-shaped map section is hand-painted and stretched—a process known as goring—and many tools must be custom made. “There are no globemaker supply stores,” jokes Bellerby.