Belgian celestial table globe

Scorpius from Belgian celestial table globe Detail from the globe showing Scorpius

This is the earliest globe in the Museum's collections. It was designed by Gemma Frisius and made in the workshop of Gaspard van der Heyden in Louvain, Belgium, in 1537. The famous mapmaker Gerard Mercator also worked on the globe.

Scientific instruments in 16th-century Europe were already being made in large workshops. Different people made different parts of the instrument, or carried out different parts of the process. They were all directed by the master craftsman who was credited as the maker.

At this time the workshops in Louvain were generally regarded as the best in Europe. The constellations on this globe are copied from earlier prints by the artist Albrecht Durer.

Belgian celestial table globe GLB0135 Belgian celestial table globe, 1537, by van der Hayden, Frisius and Mercator. Neg. no. D7958-6 © NMM