Rochard, Simon Jacques (DNB00)

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ROCHARD, SIMON JACQUES (1788–1872), miniature-painter, son of René Rochard, by his wife, Marie Madeleine Talon, was born in Paris on 28 Dec. 1788. He showed precocious talent, and, when his mother was left a widow with twelve children, became her chief support by drawing portraits in crayons at five francs each. Rochard studied under Aubry and at the École des Beaux-Arts, having received his first lessons in miniature-painting from Mademoiselle Bounieu. At the age of twenty he painted a portrait of the Empress Josephine for the emperor. Being included in the military levy ordered by Napoleon on his return from Elba, he accompanied his regiment to Belgium, but on crossing the frontier escaped to Brussels. There he was introduced at court, and, after painting portraits of Baron Falk and others, was commissioned by the Spanish minister, a few days before the battle of Waterloo, to execute a miniature of the Duke of Wellington for the king of Spain. Being unable to obtain a regular sitting, he made a watercolour sketch of the duke while he was engaged with his aides-de-camp, and this was the prototype of the many miniatures of Wellington that he afterwards painted. Rochard was also largely employed by the English officers and other members of the cosmopolitan society then gathered at Brussels, and in November 1815 was summoned to Spa to paint a portrait of the Prince of Orange for his bride. Soon after he came to London, and at once commenced a highly lucrative practice among the aristocracy. Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of York, the Duke of Cambridge, and the Duke of Devonshire sat to him; and for many years he was a favourite court painter. He exhibited largely at the Royal Academy from 1816 to 1845. In 1834 he twice painted the Queen of Portugal, and in 1839, when the czar of Russia visited England, he painted six miniatures of the czarevitch for snuff-boxes to be presented to the English noblemen attached to the czar's person. Though French by birth and training, Rochard was thoroughly English in his art, being mainly influenced by the works of Reynolds and Lawrence; in breadth of treatment and beauty of colour his miniatures are equal to those of the best of his contemporaries, though his reputation has declined. In 1846 he retired to Brussels, and in 1847 printed a catalogue of the collection of pictures by the old masters which he had formed in England. In 1852 he exhibited three miniatures at the Paris salon. He died at Brussels on 10 June 1872, his end being hastened by the failure of a business house to which he had entrusted the bulk of his savings. By his first marriage, which was not a happy one, Rochard had one daughter, who married an English officer; at the age of eighty he took a second wife, Henriette Pilton, by whom he had one son.

François Théodore Rochard (d. 1858), younger brother of Simon Jacques, after working for a time in Paris, followed his brother to London, where he became a fashionable portrait-painter, practising both in miniature and watercolours. In the latter medium he also painted many fancy figures and subjects from the poets, and in 1835 was elected a member of the New Watercolour Society. Rochard exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1820 to 1855, and also with the Society of British Artists. He died at Notting Hill, London, in 1858. A few of his works have been engraved as book illustrations.

[Gazette des Beaux-Arts, December 1891 and January 1892; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Ottley's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1893; Chavignerie's Dict. des Artistes de l'École Française; Year's Art, 1886; Royal Academy Catalogues.]

F. M. O'D.