Peter Bellerby

A comme Afrique. Impressions d’Afrique Avec un peu d’imagination, avec quelques accessoires aussi, avec une allée et des palmes, la Sicile, c’est aussi l’Afrique. Il ne s’agit pas d’arpenter la ville. Ailleurs est ce qui arrive.

A as in Africa: Impressions of Africa With a bit of imagination and a few accessories, such as a path and some palms, Sicily can also be Africa. You don’t have to amble all over the city. Afar is what appears.

Celestial or terrestrial, the globes are given several layers of watercolor, followed by a protective resin.

Celestial or terrestrial, the globes are given several layers of watercolor, followed by a protective resin.

The Churchill globe has a diameter of 127 cm.

It might be London seen from Hamp- stead Heath

Meet this globemaker, as he talks about his work and shares his most special place, in images and words.

As a child in the countryside he loved working the earth. Today, Peter Bellerby creates globes, those spun to find the dream destination or to check the location of a country with an intriguing name. In 2008, wanting to offer his father, a naval architect who worked all his life in an office, a globe for his 80th birthday, and faced with the meager selection on offer, he decided to make one himself. He thought two months and several hundred pounds would do the trick. In the end, it took two years (the craft itself had died out, everything had to be reinvented) and £200,000. With this new-found passion, he set up his workshop in North London (“good vibrations”). A businessman and craftsman fascinated by technology, he even trained his assistantsonly watercolor defeated him. In addition to the ones in his catalogue, he also makes globes to order, on such themes as horse racing at Ascot and Moby Dick. He does an incredible amount of research for each one. News of his prowess reached Hollywood (he had fun on Scorsese’s Hugo) and crossed the Channel, where the Louvre commissioned him to do a replica of Coronelli’s celestial globe from 17th-century copperplates. He doesn’t know how long or difficult the project will be. The original globe was 2 tons and some 4 meters in diameter!

“The place where I feel most at home . . . is somewhere high up with a view of a city. It might be London seen from Hampstead Heath; Paris from the top of the steps at the Sacré Cœur or an apartment in Montmartre (photo), Florence and the Duomo with its incredible cupola visible from Fiesole, or it might be Siena. I love exploring well-preserved cities that have a history. One time, when I was on holiday, I tried the beach: I was bored after two hours. So that was my one and only experience. Looking down on a city enables you to take in everything humans have built, imagined, structured and organized over centuries. I could spend hours doing it, always amazed and filled with admiration at man’s genius for building. Already as a child, I used to immerse myself in encyclopedias containing the whole of nature and the world, showing the way things functionI’ve never liked novels.”


Sandra Rey