In 1678, Venetian cartographer and globe maker Vincenzo Coronelli created a pair of enormous globes for the French king, Louis XIV. The popularity of these globes led Coronelli to create smaller, more accessible globes for interested patrons.
Coronelli created the Bell Library globes in 1696 in Venice. Each globe was created from a set of 12-hand-colored engraved gores, with two polar calottes, over a papier mâché and plaster sphere constructed over a wooden frame, varnished, and mounted on a wooden stand. The average scale of the terrestrial globe is 1/26,200,000. Each globe measures 387 mm (15.25 in) in diameter. When mounted in their stands, they measure 760 mm x 800 mm (30 in. x 31.5 in.).
Although Coronelli intended his globes to serve primarily as teaching aids for the popularization of geographic and celestial knowledge, they quickly became status symbols, reflecting power, financial success, and cultural sophistication.