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Doves Press and Arion Press Bibles, also The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, and the Diamond Jubilee Bible

{Ed. Note: The origin article below was published in October 2011. I have updated it on May 25, 2012, with some pictures and information on the The Folio Society’s Bible with the Apocrypha, King James version (still available from The Folio Society for $975) and the Diamond Jubilee Bible, a collaboration between The Folio Society and Sangorski & Sutcliffe (still available from The Folio Society for $7995). Thanks to Books and Vines contributor Dllphcoracl for some of his thoughts on these, and for The Folio Society for sending me some additional photos and use of their stock photos.}

A few days ago, I posted a review and pictures of the large scale and beautifully crafted 1989 Limited Editions Club edition of Genesis, with somewhat controversial illustrations by Jacob Lawrence.  A subsequent discussion on LibraryThing brought up the topic of other limited edition bibles. LibraryThing member and Books and Vines contributor ‘dllphcoracl’ sent me some pictures of two of the greatest; the Arion Press Bible from 2000 and the Doves Press Bible from 1904. Both are considered to be among the finest of the folio-sized letterpress bibles that have been printed since the Gutenberg bible.  ‘Dllphcoracl’ suggests that as you look at pictures of both the Doves Press and Arion Press editions below, notice the understated, austere, dignified appearance of their letterpress pages and how the simplicity and the contrast given by the specially designed red initial letters is perfect.

Information and pictures on The Folio Society’s Bible with the Apocrypha, King James version and the Diamond Jubilee Bible, a collaboration between The Folio Society and Sangorski & Sutcliffe, follow The Arion Press and Doves Press section below.

The Arion Press Bible

Most readers of Books and Vines are well familiar with Arion Press, one of today’s premier fine presses.  Arion’s edition of The Holy Bible, as stated on their website, is a monument to the scriptures, to fine typography, and to fine bookmaking. The Arion Press Bible is the first large folio presentation of the contemporary translation and current scholarship of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).  Instead of the archaic language of the King James Version, the NRSV uses modern English prose which makes it much more simpler to read and understand (note for those bothered with politically correct gender-neutral language, the NSRV uses it!). From what I have been told, the use of the NRSV language was one of the major reasons that Andrew Hoyem decided to undertake the creation of a new folio-sized letterpress bible to begin the new millennium. The Arion Bible was a huge success, is highly sought after and certainly will be of historical interest and value as time goes on. Edition information is as follows:

Pictures of the Arion Press Bible

Holy Bible, Arion Press, Large linen-covered wooden presentation box with leather label
Holy Bible, Arion Press, Two-volume set in full Nigerian goatskin binding
Holy Bible, Arion Press, Tri-colored front cover with red bead
Holy Bible, Arion Press, Binding and front cover
Holy Bible, Arion Press, Title Page
Holy Bible, Arion Press, Macro view of Sumner Stone initial lettering and Romulus typeface
Holy Bible, Arion Press, Sample Pages with Text
Holy Bible, Arion Press, Sample Text
Holy Bible, Arion Press, Second Sample Text
Holy Bible, Arion Press, Colophon

The Doves Press Bible

Doves Press was a private press based in London in the early years of the twentieth century. The Doves Press Bible, one of the monuments of the Arts and Craft Movement of the later part of the nineteenth century, is considered the firm’s finest publication, with numerous hand-lettered initials, beautiful clarity of design and typography that is second to none.  T.J. Cobden-Sanderson, the founder of the Doves Press, commissioned Edward Johnston to design the first page; now considered a masterpiece of design. The Doves Press Bible was printed by T.J. Cobden-Sanderson and Emery Walker at the Doves Press, using the text of Dr. Scrivener’s Paragraph Bible, University Press Cambridge.

Pictures of the Doves Press Bible

English Bible, Doves Press, Vellum binding, front cover
English Bible, Doves Press, Vellum binding, Vellum binding, badly faded gilt lettering on top of spine
English Bible, Doves Press, Title page of Volume IV
English Bible, Doves Press, Table of Contents of Volume IV
The English Bible, Doves Press, Macro view of sample page with distinctive red initial letter
The English Bible, Doves Press, Sample page with classic red initial letters designed by calligrapher Edward Johnston
The English Bible, Doves Press, Macro image of red initial letter and Jenson’s 15th century roman typeface
The English Bible, Doves Press, Colophon

The Folio Society’s Bible with the Apocrypha

While The Folio Society‘s Bible with the ApocryphaKing James version (KJV) cannot be compared fairly with the Arion Press Bible (the Arion Press Bible is second to none in the quality of the typography and the paper, not too mention it is nearly twice as large), it does represent an exceptional value and an outstanding choice for those looking for a ‘super’ high quality collectible bible.  It is beautifully bound, easier to handle, nicely tilted, with fine paper and a well constructed and attractive buckram-covered wooden slipcase slipcase. As mentioned, the Arion Bible does not use the King James (KJV) translation, instead opting for the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). Therefore, The Folio Society Bible is the one to consider for those looking for the beautiful poetry of the KJV or for those on a tighter budget than what the Arion Bible would cost them in the re-sale market.  Edition information for The Folio Society Bible includes (pictures follow below):

Pictures of The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha (KJV)

The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Books in Slipcase
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Spine and Tops
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Endpapers
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Title Page
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Contents
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Sample Text #1 (tint is picture flaw, not the actual paper!)
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Sample Text #2 (tint is picture flaw, not the actual paper!)
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Sample Text #3 (tint is picture flaw, not the actual paper!)
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Sample Text #4 (tint is picture flaw, not the actual paper!)
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Sample Text #5
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Sample Text #6
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Letter Announcing Publication, Page 1
The Folio Society Bible with the Apocrypha, Letter Announcing Publication, Page 2

Diamond Jubilee Bible

The limitation of The Folio Society’s Bible with the Apocrypha was reduced from 1000 copies to 940 because of the recently announced Diamond Jubilee Bible, a collaboration between Sangorski & Sutcliffe (S&S) and The Folio Society. The Diamond Jubilee Bible is based on the KJV bible (original limitation of 26) S&S created for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 60 years ago. For this replica edition, they are using 60 sets of unbound sheets from The Folio Society KJV Bible.  As a result, the The Folio Society KJV Bible is now reduced to a limitation of 940 rather than 1000 since 60 sets of sheets and texts are being siphoned off for the new Diamond Jubilee Bible. The Diamond Jubilee Bible, hand-bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, will be limited to an edition of 60 copies and will sell for $7,995.00  In essence, you are paying an additional $7,020 for the handcrafted S&S goatskin binding and the ability to own an historical bible —- based on that used in the queen’s coronation 60 years ago. Just look at the incredible binding on this edition below! Details include (with pictures below):

Pictures of The Diamond Jubilee Bible

The Diamond Jubilee Bible, Sangorski & Sutcliffe and The Folio Society, Book Spines and Cover
The Diamond Jubilee Bible, Sangorski & Sutcliffe and The Folio Society, A closer look at the spine
The Diamond Jubilee Bible, Sangorski & Sutcliffe and The Folio Society, A look at the edges
The Diamond Jubilee Bible, Sangorski & Sutcliffe and The Folio Society, Inside Cover and End Page
The Diamond Jubilee Bible, Sangorski & Sutcliffe and The Folio Society, Inside Cover and End Page
The Diamond Jubilee Bible, Sangorski & Sutcliffe and The Folio Society, From the Announcement
The Diamond Jubilee Bible, Sangorski & Sutcliffe and The Folio Society, Announcement Letter, page 1
The Diamond Jubilee Bible, Sangorski & Sutcliffe and The Folio Society, Announcement Letter, page 2
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