London’s Rivers in Porcelain

The Little Globe Company is Loraine Rutt, a London-based cartographer and artist who specialises in maps created from clay, perhaps most famously crafting and hand-painting miniature porcelain globes in painstakingly precise detail.

Her output is not just globe-based though, as this piece, showing London’s relief (hills and valleys) as well as its river network, both above and below ground (many of London’s smaller rivers are now hidden, often called the “lost rivers”. The relief is shown as stepped contours, allowing steeper gradients to stand out, and looks great particularly when viewed with a lightsource at an angle (simulating the sun) as can be seen below. The contours of Muswell Hill, in the northern part of the map, particularly stand out – any London cyclist will know them well. Newham in the east looks spectacularly flat, as does Heathrow Airport in the far west (as you would expect). As with the ceramic globes, the London’s Rivers piece has great attention to detail – the artist’s formal cartographic background ensuring that each work is geographically correct as well as looking fantastic.

The artist has produced just 10 of these pieces. You’ll be able to see one of them at The Arches Studios at Peckham, at their Christmas open studio event this weekend (only).

Thank you to Loraine Rutt for demonstrating her expertise at a special event, and The Map House for hosting her and an exhibition of her works. Photos © The Little Globe Co and from the website and Instragram account.


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