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Globe - Terrestrial and celestial globes

Terrestrial and celestial globes

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1992 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Phillips, Tom (artist)
    Sumira, Sylvia
    Sumira, Sylvia (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wooden globes with paint and printed paper applied

  • Museum number:

    38041992108266 and 38041992107482

  • Gallery location:

    National Art Library []

This bookwork is one of Tom Phillips' 'Humument' series of works that derive from the same source, that is, W.H. Mallock's Victorian novel 'A human document' published in 1892. Phillips alters the pages of the original source by highlighting some words and painting out others, the title of the series itself deriving from a contraction of the original title minus the painted out letters.

The NAL holds numerous published versions of the 'Humument' series, including one produced by the Tetrad Press in 1970.

This variation takes the form of a pair of humument globes, which represent celestial and terrestrial worlds entirely of Phillips' imagination. He was inspired to make them when his friend, the globemaker and restorer Sylvia Sumira, made him a globe for his fiftieth birthday.

The names of the invented stars, planets, countries and islands are taken from the text of 'A Human Document'. Cut-out fragments of text have been pasted on to the surface of the globes. These have been painted over with painstaking attention to detail and minute brush strokes and depict the texture of the land, the contours of the continents and a star-filled, midnight-coloured sky.

Physical description

Globes of plaster covered by paper gores, the horizon ring (with papered surface) and cradle are wooden.
The globes, rings and cradles were made by Sylvia Sumira.

Fictitious terrestrial and celestial globes. The gores are collages from colour magazines, painted and with the addition of text and names from the artist's book "A Humument".

Place of Origin

London (made)


1992 (made)


Phillips, Tom (artist)
Sumira, Sylvia
Sumira, Sylvia (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Wooden globes with paint and printed paper applied


Height: 25 cm, Width: 24 cm

Descriptive line

Artist's book, 'Terrestrial and celestial globes', by Tom Phillips, London, 1992


Wood; Printed paper; Paint




Artists' Books; National Art Library


National Art Library

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