Macmillan's Illustrated Standard Novels
In the late 1890s Turbayne designed several covers and the advertising poster for the “Peacock” edition of illustrated novels published by Macmillan. This is Turbayne's most well-known motif, described by one scholar as "an ostentatious design in which the peacock's head is moved to the top right hand corner and the tail, with its flame-like eyes, expands over the surface." The poster itself was so popular that it was sought after by collectors immediately upon its production.
Despite being called the "Peacock" edition, only the books written by Thomas Love Peacock featured the bird on their covers, though the rest of the books in the series had the same design printed in yellow on their endpapers. One contemporary critic noted that this series "ranks among the most tasteful editions of standard works ever published in inexpensive form."
Headlong Hall and Nightmare Abbey, by Thomas Love Peacock, 1896
The elaborate Art Nouveau peacock, slightly different than the one on the series poster, is a play on the author’s name. A book like this, with its heavy use of gold stamping on the cover and gilt on the top edges of the pages, would have been intended for the gift market. Even so, the price of 5 shillings (roughly 20 pounds today) for the "cloth elegant" edition was an affordable luxury.
Tom Cringle's Log, by Michael Scott, 1895
Scholar Simon Cooke notes that the design on this binding exemplifies a key motif of Art Nouveau-- an emphasis on organic forms which blur the distinction between nature and art.