Samuel-Jacques Bernard (1686–1753)

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Samuel-Jacques Bernard (19 May 1686 — 22 November 1753), comte de Coubert after the death of his father in 1739, was the son of the financier Samuel Bernard, a rich noble in France and his first wife, née (Anne)-Magdeleine Clergeau; he was superintendent of finance for Queen Maria Leszczyńska from 1725, a maître des requêtes, conseiller du roi and Grand Croix and Master of Ceremonies of the Order of Saint-Louis.[1]

Like his father he converted from Calvinism, but some believe he and his father were Jewish.[2] In 1715[3] Bernard married Elisabeth-Olive-Louise Frot[t]ier, daughter of the marquis de La Coste-Messelière.

At his father's death he inherited a fortune estimated at 33,000,000 livres.[4] His sensational bankruptcy in 1751, which involved Voltaire in a loss of 80,000 livres representing 8,000 livres of income,[5] did not interrupt his career as a grand seigneur,[6] though the estate at his death remained deeply in debt. His richly furnished hôtel particulier was designed by Germain Boffrand and built in 1741-45 at 46, rue du Bac, backing onto the Paris.[7] He filled it with works of art. For the dining-room, panelled in oak left its natural color (à la capucine), Jean-Baptiste Oudry painted in 1742 two large canvases with hunting dogs, which rank among Oudry's most splendid decorations.[8] They now hang in the Palais Rohan in Strasbourg. The white-and-gold boiseries of the grand salon, with their overdoors of the Four Continents painted by four painters who were providing tapestry cartoons for the looms at Aubusson: Jacques Dumont le Romain, Charles-Joseph Natoire, Charles Restout and Carle Van Loo,[9] are now installed in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.[10] Books and manuscripts from his extensive library, dispersed at auction in 1754 and 1756,[11] are recognizable from the arms surrounded by the collar of the Order of Saint-Louis and the motto Bellicae vitutis praemium stamped on their rich bindings.[12]


  1. ^ Full titles and honours in de La Chenaye, Desbois and Badier, Dictionnaire de la noblesse, 1873.
  2. ^ "Aristocracy, Degeneracy, and Swarms of Jews". National Vanguard. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  3. ^ 29 September, at Saint-Sulpice, Paris, according to Augustin Jal, ed. Dictionnaire critique de biographie et d'histoire: errata et supplément, 1867, s.v. "Bernard", pp 203 col. a ff
  4. ^ F. J. B. Watson, "A French Eighteenth-Century Room for Jerusalem", The Burlington Magazine 111 No. 801, (December 1969:758-761) p. 768.
  5. ^ V[ictor]. de S[warte], "Samuel Bernard" in Réunion des sociétés des beaux-arts des départements 17 (1893:293-300); includes rancorous quotes from Voltaire's correspondence.
  6. ^ Jal 1867.
  7. ^ The entrance alone survives in rue du Bac; the corps de logis was demolished in the extension of Boulevard Saint-Germain (Pierre Verlet , The Eighteenth century in France: society, decoration, furniture, 1967:14); see Bruno Pons, "Hôtel de Samuel Jacques Bernard," in Le faubourg Saint- Germain: la rue du Bac, exhibition catalogue, Paris 1991; Charles Duplomb, La rue du Bac 1894:39-42
  8. ^ According to Hal N. Opperman, J.-B. Oudry, 1686-1755 1983:174.
  9. ^ For the Aubusson connection, see George Leland Hunter, Tapestries; Their Origin, History And Renaissance, "French Looms, The Gobelins: Beauvais: Aubusson. Part 6" (on-line text).
  10. ^ The hôtel in the rue du Bac was demolished in 1887 for completion of the Boulevard Saint-Germain (1893:297; the boiserie was the gift of baron Edmond de Rothschild (Watson 1969:758-761).
  11. ^ François Moureau, "Encore ces maessieurs de Rieu," in La lettre clandestine no. 3 (Paris:Sorbonne) 1999:296 and note 2.
  12. ^ Ernest Coyecque, "Manuscrits du Tribunal de Commerce de la Seine", in Revue des bibliothèques 3 1893:98 and notes,