Librettist, bibliographer, and numismatist Nicola Francesco Haym was born in Rome on 6 July 1678. Having started his career as a cellist, he arrived in London in March 1701 in company of Nicola Cosimi. Their English patron was Wriothesley Russell, Marquess of Tavistock (later 2nd Duke of Bedford). They lived for four years at his residence, Southampton House in Bloomsbury, and Haym served him for a decade.
When Italian operas began to be produced at London between 1705 and 1710, Haym served as cellist and manager for the singer Joanna Maria Lindelheim [performing name: the Baroness] who conjecturally lived with him in Bow Street, not far from the Drury Lane Theatre (they later moved to Bridges Street, Covent Garden). He wrote the libretto for Bononcini’s Camilla. Its success did much to establish Italian opera in the capital.
In 1720 he was employed as a continuo cellist for the new Royal Academy of Music and from 1722 he acted as the Academy’s Secretary for its final six seasons. In 1719/20 Haym wrote the book Del tesoro britannico parte prima, the first work on the ancient coins in the collection of the British Museum (BM).
He also compiled an annotated bibliography Notizia de’ libri rari nella lingua italiana. Published in London in 1726, the work was originally intended to list rare books only. A much enlarged edition was published in Milan in 1771/2 by Federico Giandonati which was the standard bibliography of Italian literature until the nineteenth century. Haym died in London in July 1729.