From medieval globes made when much of the world was unexplored to the huge, decorative examples made for the princely courts of Renaissance Europe, this book celebrates the art and history of the globe, focusing on the four hundred years when the printed globe - as navigational tool, scientific instrument and powerful status symbol - occupied an important place in the history of European exploration. It ranges from the first globe ever made in China to the desktop models in Victorian schoolrooms, and from celestial globes of the sixteenth century to charming pocket examples produced as educational toys. Featuring sixty examples drawn from major collections around the world, this is a major new book on the subject for the general reader and collectors alike, and uses stunning new photography to pick out the revealing details - ships and sea monsters, navigators' tracks and newly found islands, constellations and astronomical features - that help us to understand why globes were made and how they were used. The major globe collection of the British Library - which is rarely seen and has now been photographed for the first time - forms the cornerstone of this beautifully illustrated book. Written from the unique perspective of the world's leading conservator of globes, it tells the story of the skill and craftsmanship needed to produce these exceptional and beautifully preserved globes.