The Protestant Dobrée family fled to Guernsey after the Revocation. They came back to France in the late 18th century and settled in Nantes.
In the 19th century Thomas Dobrée (1781-1828) engaged in big business, developing whale fishing and founding the Basse-Indre ironworks.
His son Thomas II (1810-1895) inherited a huge fortune and he devoted his wealth to buying works of art, i.e. paintings, sculptures, enamels, engravings, manuscripts, rare books.
To house his collections he bought the Touche mansion where Jean V, duke of Brittany, died. He had a mansion built in a neo-Romanesque style. When he died, he bequeathed everything to the Loire-Inférieure department along with 100,000 francs. He chose as sole legatee Hippolyte-Marie Durand-Gasselin, banker then industrialist.