At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. Spoilers will be present within the article.
The Portrait curse (incantation unknown) was a curse that would, once unleashed, trap individuals in magical portraits. The longer the individual stayed inside the portrait, the more the person would continue to gradually lose touch with reality outside the frame, slowly driving the victim to insanity.
While a miserable existence, it would appear that when the victims are subjected to this curse, their bodies are actually somehow transfigured into paint on canvas, as while they retain their mental faculties, a person can be trapped for years without dying of starvation or dehydration, as demonstrated by both Jacob and the Hungarian Horntail that guarded the Portrait Vault.
While trapped in a portrait, the victim does not age or change in any way, and upon being freed from the curse, emerge from the portrait not a day older than when they were first trapped, as demonstrated by Jacob, who did not look any different from when their younger sibling saw him last, to which he replied; "Well, I've been trapped in a portrait for years..."
In the 1988–1989 school year, Beatrice Haywood and several other students became trapped inside portraits on the Grand Staircase as the result of this powerful and malign curse being somehow unleashed. The Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor and renowned Curse-Breaker Patricia Rakepick tried to break the curse with the help of Jacob's sibling, Merula Snyde and William Weasley. The curse was broken near the end of the year when Jacob's sibling and their friends entered the Portrait Vault.
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (First appearance)