The Art And Making Of Penny Dreadful by Sharon Gosling (book review).

As ‘Penny Dreadful’ is on a pay channel, I decided after glancing through the pages of this book, ‘The Art And Making Of Penny Dreadful’ by Sharon Gosling that it would make sense to look at the DVD release of its first season. After all, it has an interesting cast, the use of Dublin to step in for London and a frightening presmise. The real question is whether or not it has a new take on merging various Victorian stories that hasn’t been done before.


The book of ‘The Art And Making Of Penny Dreadful’ doesn’t really give much about the actual stories. You get backgrounds of the various characters but less on what they are getting up to in the storylines, so make sure you read the book in tandem with watching the series. What you do get is a wealth of information about how the series is put together, so this is really an interesting companion piece.


There is a lot of useful information. I mean did you know that there were 164 paintings in Dorian Grey’s house? What was even more interesting was how the prints were made to look more like paintings. Although I doubt if many of us could access or afford textured paper or the firm who can do it, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you out there will play around with the PVA coating and matt varnish to see if they could come up with similar effects.


There are both a vast selection of paintings and photos from the first season and a little hint of what is likely to be used in the second season. To say ‘Penny Dreadful’ is opulent is putting it mildly. Reading the comments from the various production crew, there’s a feeling of love for creation and making the series look as authentic looking as possible.


One criticism after watching and reading both is that in those days, photographs didn’t have white edges, filling the entire paper. Many years ago, my Dad let me loose on some very old photo-paper and it wouldn’t work in any other way when darkening in sunlight and would have a sepia tint.


If you marvel at how much work is put into genre films, then ‘Penny Dreadful’ is on par with these. This is truly an impressive book and I really do hope they do an accompanying volume for season two, especially as the settings are likely to change as well.

GF Willmetts

April 2015

(pub: Titan Books. 176 page large hardback. Price: £19.99 (UK), $25.00 (US), $28.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-78329-372-8)

check out website:


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.