To look at an ancient globe is to look at the Earth as it was seen by the people of another time. It reflects their understanding of the continents and seas, and it captures political divisions that have long since shifted. Even the typography and colors of a globe are indicative of the time and place of its origin, says Sylvia Sumira, a London-based conservator of ancient globes.
Often, it’s a thing of remarkable craftsmanship and beauty. “If you go into a room and there’s a globe, your attention is immediately drawn to it,” Sumira said. In her lavishly illustrated new book, Globes: 400 years of exploration, navigation, and power, Sumira traces the history and making of globes and showcases dozens of fine examples drawn largely from the collection of the British Library.”
photo: moon globe made by the artist John Russell, 1797.