It’s a large world after all!

February 17th, 2012 | posted by James Gillis

This extraordinary terrestrial globe, measuring an impressive 30 inches in diameter, was crafted by the reputable firm W. & A.K. Johnston, Ltd. The beautiful, accurately detailed map is set within a lavishly carved mahogany base on four cabriole legs.

Globes of this grand scale were incredibly expensive to make. It proved to be much more cost effective to update one’s plates than to buy an entirely new globe. From Edinburgh, the Johnston firm emerged during the second half of the 19th-century as one of the foremost globe makers in all of the United Kingdom, overshadowing their rivals in London.

The Johnston brothers, William and Alexander Keith, both worked for leading Scottish globe manufacturer James Kirkwood until the Great Fire of 1824, which destroyed the firm. In 1825 William founded his own firm and was soon joined by his brother the following year.  Their combined skills as geographers, engravers and printers truly set them apart. They quickly rose to the forefront of globe manufacturing in the UK, and were awarded a royal appointment from Queen Victoria. In 1851, at the Great Exhibition in London, the brothers introduced their 30-inch globe design, the first of its kind ever produced in the British Isles.

The firm remained intact even after the deaths of Keith (1871) and William (1888), and continued to produce spectacular globes well into the 20th century.

To see our various globes for sale, please click here.

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