The Cameo is a classic Cambridge typesetting of the King James Version, originally produced in the 1920s for letterpress printing. In 2010-11, Cambridge Bibles published the red-letter reference edition with and without the Apocrypha, in calfskin and goatskin cover. It is a facsimile of the classic Cameo typesetting using the original Petit Medieval Clarendon typeface. This year, the KJV Cameo Reference Edition is having a comeback in blue and green goatskin. These new releases boast impeccable quality and craftsmanship—printed and bound by the world-renowned Royal Jongbloed in the Netherlands. In this review, I will look at the green KJV Cameo.
The green Cameo boasts a superb goatskin cover. It is perimeter-stitched with a pronounced pebbly grain look and texture, and it is thick yet flexible. I particularly love the dark olive green shade that Cambridge used in this cover. It looks stunning and it creates an elegant contrast against the gold stamps on the spine and the art-gilt on the text block. Instead of raised hubs, the spine has five neat tooled bars which maintain the minimalistic presentation. This Bible measures 5.5 x 7.5 x 1.25” and weighs 1 lb, 6 oz—making it a perfect travel companion.
This Bible is edge-lined with black calf split leather liner. This greatly contributes to the flexibility of the cover. In addition to this, the text block is smyth-sewn which not only causes the Bible to lay flat when open but also makes it more durable and flexible. The text block has amazing red-under-gold art-gilt edges, red and green head and tail bands, and it comes with three complementing double-sided satin ribbon markers in different shades of green. Overall, the built and design of the green Cameo is outstanding and well-thought-out.
Aside from its impeccable built and craftsmanship, this Bible has excellent readability despite its compact size. It presents the KJV text in 8-point font, printed in a highly opaque India-style paper from France. Though the text seems a bit compressed, it is very readable and bold. I am also amazed by how clear the scripture texts are given the fact that this is a facsimile. I like the vintage feel that the Petit Medieval Clarendon typeface gives. On a personal note, it seems like this Bible has the same typeface as the Bible that my mom used to read to me when I was a kid. So, I really love the feeling of nostalgia just by looking at it. Also, I personally like the verse-by-verse format in Bibles, so that is a plus for me on this one. The text is set in a center-column reference, verse-by-verse format, which means that the scripture is printed in double-column and the cross-references are in between. On the other hand, while I love the readability of the scripture text, I find the cross-references too small and sometimes hard to use. Nonetheless, they are really handy for studying. In addition, this Bible has 15 full-color maps that are very detailed and properly indexed which is something really praiseworthy.
I have been reviewing Bibles for about a decade now and I must say that this has one of the best goatskin covers that I have ever felt and seen. This new binding style and cover showcase the KJV Cameo in a refreshing and attractive way while maintaining the beauty and legacy of the text. And if you are the type of person who is always on the go, this Bible is perfect for you. The KJV Cameo Reference bridges the gap between readability and portability.
The KJV Cameo Reference Edition, Green Goatskin Leather retails for £155. For more information or to purchase this Bible, visit https://www.cambridge.org/bibles/bible-versions/king-james-version/reference-editions/cameo-reference-edition.
Disclosure: A review copy of the KJV Cameo Reference Edition Bible in green goatskin (ISBN 9781009158039) was provided for review by Cambridge Bibles, from whom you may purchase a copy.