LONDON Handbound book – four years in the making….

This book is by the amazing Jonathan Vanderholm, the genius book artist behind Artifice Books.

I have written about Artifice Books before, here. My two Artifice books are my favourite handbound books. They are full of secret codes and pockets.

This one is EAST INDIA, and it has several secret pockets in it. The top of the front cover opens up to reveal stone panelling, carved in leather.




And this one is SATELLITE MIND. It has secret codes carved into it





So, about four years ago I commissioned a custom book from Jonathan. We had some wonderful in depth discussion about likes and dislikes and we settled on Elizabethan England as a general theme, and John Dee as inspiration.

During the whole process, I had no idea what the book would look like – not the size, the colour – nothing!

It arrived today and I was absolutely speechless. I just cannot explain the work and the love that went into the cover and the three books that will fill it. I cannot put into words the beauty of it. Every time I look at it I see something new, something more.

This is the cover and the first refill of three. The photos are not the best but I just wanted to capture it today. If anyone would like more details and better photos, please ask and I will do so with pleasure 🙂

The box was HUGE!


The the front and back covers fold out,  and the different parts are kept secure when folded together by means of buttons. The entire book is full of codes, riddles and secrets which it will be my task to unravel. For example, my birth date is on the front cover but in a form I do not recognise!

The book insert is one of a series of three and each of them have a theme. This one has a carved leather cover and all the pages have been handbound. Some of the internal pages are illustrated, also with things I am going to attempt to decipher.

I have seen the Book of Kells and some of the illustrations in here remind me of those!

And the last and most fantastic thing – the leather is perfumed using an authentic recipe from those times. And the perfume is AMAZING!


























Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

8 thoughts

  1. What a wonderful piece of work. I shall be MORE THAN interested to hear about the secrets, and how you go about deciphering the codes, assuming, of course, that they aren’t personal. Keep us all postef, please.

      1. Thank you Janet. How exciting! And we’re just on the periphery. It’s actually yours to discover.

  2. Holy cow by all things that are off the charts amazaballs!!! I keep going back and looking at the detail. Four years, while a super long time, produced a piece of art beyond what I imagine you even imagined. Will it get used or put behind glass is the question I have. How many times have you opened and closed it and flipped it this way and that to check everything out? Again, simply amazing.

    1. It is absolutely stunning – and every time I look at it I discover something new. The workmanship is absolutely off the chain! It was made to be used and it was going to be my journal but now I just don’t imagine how I will ever bring myself to be able to use it. One would have to love an incredible life to do justice to this work of art!

      1. Isn’t the expression “out of ordinary things comes beauty”? Or something like that? My point being you are pretty extraordinary and I think it would be awesome for you to use this book as your journal. Beauty protecting beauty. While I really do get your point – it seems a tiny bit of a shame not to use it for what it was made for. It is begging for your words inside. IMHO. Peace, Jaime

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