The Perfume of Books and the Secret life of Watermarks

This project is now finished.
If you live overseas you can find the following:

The Perfume of Books is available online as print on demand  or as an ebook from

The Secret Life of Watermarks is available at

Coming late 2020: Factotum, Filgranes and Fleurons – see what it’s about on Youtube



In short:

Three years in the making; over 10 000 photos through which to sift; over 200 books examined, prodded and sniffed. These books have revealed their secret watermarks to me. Everyone should get to see them.

The Project:

The first is The Perfume of Books, a descriptive catalogue of the various bindings from books in the Rare Book Stack. The second is the Secret Life of Watermarks, a photo essay on around 500 watermarks captured in these books. These books date between 1470 and 1840, chosen somewhat randomly.

Project consists of:

  • Compiling data – photos of bindings and watermarks need to be well described so that bookbinders, bibliophiles, booksellers and generally speaking all book lovers can understand what they  see equally;
  • researching history and background of watermarks in books and online databases;
  • editing and design of books and covers;
  • fully indexed;
  • printing up to 100 sets of sheets;
  • buying materials for hand binding;
  • handbinding the sheets to make up to 100 unique editions;
  • print on demand is a fact of life; people will be able to purchase books online as eBook or print on demand. (late 2017)
  • buying time to do said editing and binding

The books are rich in colour photographs, exciting to the eye and the imagination. They will answer the questions of the curious and are a perfect tool for the antiquarian bookseller.

The Kickstarter campaign raised $5000 and helped me  achieve my goal of getting these two books bound by March 2017. This will coincide with the National Bookbinding Conference to be held in Canberra.

If you are interested, watch this space for news on how I am progressing.





Creative Commons License
The Perfume of Books by Erika Mordek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License
The Secret Life of Watermarks by Erika Mordek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.