A. & C. Black Colour Books

In 1901 British publishing firm A. & C. Black became the first to use the three-color printing process for color illustrations in its 20 shillings series of “Colour Books.” Black used watercolor artists to create the illustrations, and most of the volumes featured 70 or more color plates. Turbayne and his colleagues at the Carlton Studio were responsible for the majority of the cover designs as well as the overall design of the entire series. These books sold very well, boosted by their relatively affordable price (roughly equivalent to £78 today), colorful illustrations, and handsome bindings.

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War Impressions

War Impressions, translated by Dorothy Menpes, painted by Mortimer Menpes, 1901

Published in 1901, War Impressions by Mortimer Menpes was the first title in the colour book series. Although it does not bear Turbayne's scarab monogram, he and his colleagues at the Carlton Studio were responsible for the majority of the cover designs in the series. 

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World Pictures

World Pictures, by Mortimer Menpes, text by Dorothy Menpes, 1902

Here Turbayne has used medallions featuring the initials of the author and illustrator. The checkerboard pattern recalls the design used on War Pictures, also by Mortimer and Dorothy Menpes.

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Whistler as I Knew Him

Whistler as I Knew Him, by Mortimer Menpes, 1904

Turbayne designed this simple cover after being told that "Whistler was fond of the check pattern and the Japanese wave pattern and also liked straight lines and symmetry." 

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India

India, by Flora Annie Steel, 1905

Turbayne was always careful to relate the cover design closely to the subject matter of the book, and his attention to detail and authenticity is apparent in his notes for India:

"The centre panels on the spine and front are meant to suggest one of the carved stone lattice windows of the Mosque of the Palace of Ahmedabad, one of the most delicate and beautiful specimins of Indian ornament. The narrow border is based on a border on a stone screen round a tomb at Gwalior, 17th century work. The treatment of the peacock was suggested by some old Indian embroidery."

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Birds of Britain

Birds of Britain, by J. Lewis Bonhote, 1907

The magnificent birds on this intricate cover resemble the mythical phoenix more than they do any of the birds depicted in the illustrations. 

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George Morland: His Life and Works

George Morland: His Life and Works, by Sir Walter Gilbey, 1907

Here Turbayne has used an oak tree, England's national symbol of strength, on a book about English artist George Morland. 

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Ancient Tales and Folklore of Japan

Ancient Tales and Folklore of Japan, by Richard Gordon Smith, 1908

The panes on this cover are meant to represent a Japanese Shoji blind, but author Richard Gordon Smith complained that the squares were not accurate in size. "This does not matter much as no Europeans probably notice it," he wrote, "but it has been noticed [in Japan] just as much as if we were to reverse our doors and windows to lengthways instead of up and down." This seems to be one of the rare mistakes made by Turbayne, who was typically very accurate with his designs. 

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John Pettie, R.A., H.R.S.A.

John Pettie, R.A., H.R.S.A., by Martin Hardie, 1908

Turbayne included a palette and brushes on this cover in honor of Scottish painter John Pettie (1939-1893). 

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The Motor Routes of England

The Motor Routes of England, by Gordon Home, 1909

Here Turbayne has presented the relatively new motor car as a winged chariot, complete with goggled driver and passenger. 

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The Rivers & Streams of England, painted by Sutton Palmer, described by A. G. Bradley

The Rivers & Streams of England, by A.G. Bradley, 1909

The wavy green lines on a deep blue background reference the subject matter of the book, as do the river water-crowfoot (Ranunculus fluitans), which are commonly found along English waterways. 

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Egypt

Egypt, by R. Talbot Kelly, 1910

The winged serpents are an obvious reference to Egypt, and the highly stylized papyrus flowers resemble the elongated, attenuated lines of the "Glasgow Style" of Art Nouveau, created by artists Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret and Frances Macdonald, and Herbert MacNair.

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Burma

Burma, by R. Talbot Kelly, 1912

Turbayne returned to the peacock motif for this book about Burma. The green peafowl is one of the national animals of Burma (now Myanmar) and has long been a symbol of pride and resistance.