‘The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful’ book review

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‘Art of…’ books are often a bit something-and-nothing: pretty to look at, nice to flick through, but otherwise a shallow experience destined to be left on the shelf or under the coffee table.

So it’s always nice to encounter one which exceeds expectations, and delivers you more than big glossy pictures and a sprinkling of annotations.

The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful is an in-depth companion which feels complementary to the show rather than a souvenir from the grand guignol.

Sharon Gosling has put together a comprehensively informative and aesthetically pleasing companion to the show; seamlessly weaving together interviews, characters profiles, production artwork, snippets of the real history on which the show draws, and behind the scenes peeks into how the show is made.


The history of rat-baiting, consumption, and opium dens sit comfortably alongside pre-production paintings of vampires and photos of gruesome prosthetics. All of it is held together with explanations from the production team on how everything from stomach-churning crime scenes to the elegance of Dorian Gray’s portrait gallery were brought to the screen.

It’s testament to how hard Penny Dreadful‘s crew works to create and decorate a murky world of blood and mystery. The thought and detail that has gone into creating Frankenstein’s Lab particularly impresses.

If you’re a fan of Penny Dreadful, then this book won’t end up collecting dust on your shelf. It’s a gorgeously gory, informative companion to the show; so much so that it may end up prompting you to have a re-watch of the first season before the show returns in May.


Published on 17 April 2015 by Titan Books.

> Order the book on Amazon.

> Buy Season 1 on DVD on Amazon.

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