In an 1897 interview Turbayne described the process by which he received commissions and created his designs:
"With important works, an advance copy or a summary of the text is sent to me, and that guides the choice of treatment. Having read the book, I prepare my design; send it for the approval of the author and publisher, and then have it returned, with a 'dummy' volume of the work, from which the exact sizes are judged. Then I have to take into consideration the style of covering to be used, the price at which the book is to be brought out, and so on. In most cases I suggest the cloth, colouring, and treatment, with the first sketch of the design, by which means a far more satisfactory result is obtained than would otherwise be possible. Where a book is to be published at a low figure, the cost of gold on the cover is an important item, as also the choice of cloth; so, you see, one has to observe commercial as well as artistic considerations."
The Life of Christ as Represented in Art, by Frederick W. Farrar (London: A. & C. Black, 1894)
In the same 1897 interview, Turbayne cited this design as an example of the cover reflecting the subject matter of the book:
"There is the vine-- whose symbolism is well known-- by its arrangement suggesting the Trinity and co-equality. The monogram consists of the first two letters of the Greek word Christos, X and P united. It is known also as the Cross of Constantine, and you will notice that I have employed it in the cover to 'The Annals of Westminster Abbey.' The Gothic lettering is essentially suited to the character of the book, and to the design it accompanies."
The Most Delectable History of Reynard the Fox, edited by Joseph Jacobs (London: Macmillan and Co., 1895)
Here Turbayne has taken inspiration from the illustrations by W. Frank Calderon for the binding, with King Lion standing regally on the spine and the trickster fox caught in a tangle of brambles on the cover.
False Dawn, by Francis Prevost (London: Ward, Lock, and Co., 1897)
Turbayne took a more literal approach to designing the binding for this book, which is a story of forbidden love, by depicting a rising sun. This is one of the few times that he created a continuous design from the front cover to the spine.
The Lady of the Lake, by Sir Walter Scott (James Nisbet & Co., 1904)
The asymmetrical Art Nouveau design on this cover is composed of jagged thistle, a subtle nod to the Scottish author.