The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady Character List

Isabel Archer

The main subject of the novel; the moral heroine. She is very opinionated and also questions meaningless conventions. She is curious and wants to explore the world. The novel is about her quest to gain these life experiences. She is characterized mostly by her original ideas and her active imagination.

Gilbert Osmond

An American collector, who marries Isabel Archer. He is very Europeanized, having lived in Europe for most of his life. He has a fine intellect, as well as excellent aesthetic taste. He can be captivating when he makes the effort. However, he is also selfish and narcissistic -- something that Isabel only discovers after she has married him.

Mrs. Lydia Touchett

Isabel's aunt, the sister of Isabel's deceased father. She is very pragmatic and straightforward.

Ralph Touchett

Isabel's cousin and Mrs. Touchett's son. He is sick with consumption (i.e., tuberculosis) and expects to die young. He convinces his father to leave Isabel money when he dies because he is interested in what Isabel will do with it.

Mr. Daniel Touchett

Isabel's uncle. He is a generous man who is very sick. He leaves Isabel a large fortune upon his death.

Henrietta Stackpole

An American female journalist who is a friend of Isabel. She comes to visit Isabel and is very faithful to her, wanting her to be happy.

Caspar Goodwood

A suitor of Isabel, owner of a cotton-mill. He comes from America in order to pursue Isabel.

Countess Amy Gemini

Sister of Gilbert Osmond. She is a frivolous person, often gossiping and fibbing about other people. She tells Isabel the truth about Osmond and Merle's relationship.

Madame Sabrina Merle

An American woman who has all the appearances of being a Frenchwoman. She is a talented and ambitious socialite; Isabel admires her very much when she first meets her.

Lord Warburton

A British Lord who lives at Lockleigh and proposes marriage to Isabel. He has all the qualities of a good husband, but Isabel refuses to marry him.

The Misses Molyneux

Sisters of Lord Warburton. They are rather bland characters, but Isabel finds them interesting.


The dog of the Touchetts.

Lady Pensil

Mr. Bantling's sister, who is supposed to invite Henrietta Stackpole over to her house; it takes her five years to do so.

Matthew Hope

Doctor of the Touchetts.

Edward Rosier

An American living in Paris, who falls in love with Pansy. He is a collector.

Pansy Osmond

Teenage daughter of Gilbert Osmond. She is a very innocent and impressionable young lady who does everything her father asks of her.

Lillian and Edmund Ludlow

Lillian is Isabel's sister, and her husband is a lawyer.

Edith Keyes

Sister of Isabel, mentioned only in passing in the context of being more beautiful than Isabel.