Tradition and innovation meet in monumental new illustrated Bible

The Cambridge Family Chronicle Bible blends the centuries-long traditions of Bible publishing at Cambridge University Press with cutting edge publishing techniques, digital technology and expert craftsmanship.

It includes a 14 page family chronicle section, where the names, births, deaths, marriages and other details for six generations of family members can be recorded, meaning this Bible will be a treasured family heirloom. 

The family chronicle section of the new Bible

Producing the Bible has taken 10 years, with huge care taken over every aspect, from the typeface and illustrations to the paper it has been printed on and the bindings that will protect it through many generations of use. 

The typesetting has been inspired by the Baskerville Bible, produced by printer John Baskerville and published by the Press in 1763. Baskerville’s original type has been revived and given a digital makeover to enhance its clarity while retaining the beauty and elegance of its appearance.

A page from the Bible with some of the surviving Baskerville punches

The work was done by 2K Denmark, the world’s leading Bible type foundry, who also used modern techniques to breathe new life into the Bible’s illustrations – reproductions of the evocative 19th Century engravings of French illustrator, Gustave Doré. 

High resolution scans of the illustrations were taken directly from a surviving copy of La Grande Bible de Tours of 1866, in which they first appeared. The designers then used a set of specially created digital filters to produce the best reproduction of the illustrations since that original printing. All of Doré’s 221 biblical engravings of the Old and New Testaments are included.

A closer look at some of Dore's illustrations

Both the typography and illustrations have been further enhanced by the use of specially selected paper, printed on carefully by family-owned, Italian printers and binders, Legatoria Editoriale Giovanni Olivotto, to give the best possible reproduction. The firm was also responsible for the different bindings for the Bible, which have been worked by hand and designed to be beautiful and robust. 

Bob Groser, Bibles Director at Cambridge, said: “We wanted to create a family Bible in the truest sense; a large and beautiful book that is a centrepiece in the home, a place to record your family’s history and something to hand down to future generations.

“It was years in the making, but the result is really stunning and represents the best of Cambridge publishing, Italian printing and Danish design. We are very proud to add it to the list of landmark Bibles published by the Press.”

Cambridge University Press is the world’s oldest Bible publisher, having published its first – an octavo edition of the popular Geneva Bible – in 1591. This began a publishing tradition that has endured for more than four centuries with the Authorized – or King James – Version, the Revised Version, the New English Bible and the Revised English Bible.

The Family Chronicle Bible uses the King James Version (KJV). As the Queen’s Printer, Cambridge University Press & Assessment is entitled both to print and publish the KJV and also to control or license its publication on behalf of the Crown. The Latin term ‘cum privilegio’ is printed on the title pages of Cambridge editions to denote the charter authority or privilege under which they are published.