The following characters appear in The Surrogate. All have actually lived and are portrayed as faithfully as possible. Of course, some adjustments to the lives and character of some of these characters have been made for the story, but as far as possible without giving a fetched picture of them. It also goes without saying that they become visible in this novel on the basis of research into their lives during the years they played a role in the story. Some of them are emphatically explored further as historical figures than the others. This applies to the main characters, some painters (Leighton, Schmalz) and stage people (Prinsep, Salvini, Irving, Shaw). Others remain on the periphery of the story.

Main characters

  • Ada Alice Pullan [Dorothy Dene] (sitter, actrice)
  • Isabell Pullan [Lena Dene] (sitter, actrice, seamstress, Ada's youngest sister)
  • Henriëtta Pullan [Hetty Dene] (sitter, younger sister of Ada)
  • Edith Pullan [Edith Dene] (sitter, younger sister of Ada, wife of Herbert Schmalz)
  • Kathleen Pullan (younger sister of Ada)
  • Dorothy Pullan (younger sister of Ada)
  • Thomas Pullan (engineer, older brother of Ada)
  • Samuel Pullan [Samuel Dene] (engineer, youngest brother of Ada)
  • Abraham Pullan (father of Ada)
  • Sarah Pullan-Eagle (mother of Ada)
  • Sir Frederick Leighton (painter, president Royal Academy of Arts)
  • Herbert Gustave Schmalz [Carmichael] (painter)
  • George Watts (painter)
  • Valentine Cameron Prinsep (painter, playwright)
  • Louise Starr-Canziani (painter, socialite)
  • Hamilton Aïdé (actor, theatre director, theatre teacher)
  • Isabella Dallas Glynn (actress, speech teacher)
  • Robert Browning (poet)
  • Robert Browning (poet)
  • Tommaso Salvini (actor)
  • Augusta Matthews-Leighton (writer, sister of Frederic Leighton)

Other characters

  • Henry Pullan (younger brother of Ada)
  • Arthur Pullan (younger brother of Ada)
  • Emilie Charlotte le Breton [Lillie Langtry] (actress)
  • George Bernard Shaw (playwright)
  • Henry Irving (actor, theatre director)
  • Walter Crane (illustrator)
  • Oscar Wilde (poet)
  • Sir John Everett Millais (painter, successor to Leighton as president of the RA)
  • John William Waterhouse (painter)
  • Thomas Woolner (painter)
  • Frank Dicksee (painter)
  • Laurens Alma-Tadema (painter)
  • Ford Maddox Brown (painter)
  • William Holman Hunt (painter)
  • Edward Burne-Jones (painter)