The son of the picture cleaner delivers a number of restored portraits to the schloss one evening, and among them is the portrait of Countess Mircalla, which bears an uncanny resemblance to Carmilla. Previously smudged and damaged beyond recognition, it has now been restored so that every last detail may be observed. Laura is struck by the portrait and its likeness to Carmilla, asking if she can hang it in her room. The portrait represents the version of Carmilla to which Laura is attracted—the young, beautiful, and innocent aristocrat—while hiding the darker side of Carmilla that frightens her. At the same time, the portrait gestures towards Carmilla’s true nature—the portrait has no frame, for instance, which is indicative of the inability to truly restrain Carmilla. So, as Laura attempts to control the image of Carmilla by hanging the portrait in her room and reducing her to an object on her wall, she is actually holding onto the proof of Carmilla’s wickedness.
The Portrait of Countess Mircalla Quotes in Carmilla
“And you asked for the picture you think like me, to hang in your room,” she murmured with a sigh, and let her pretty head sink upon my shoulder. “How romantic you are, Carmilla,” I said. “Whenever you tell me your story, it will be made up chiefly of some one great romance.”