Merchant, diplomat, and amateur harpsichordist Giovanni Giacomo Zamboni was born on 26 July 1683 in Florence. He began his career in as a merchant banker in Livorno. He arrived in London in late 1711 and remained there until his death in April 1753. He acted as a merchant and agent using the full range of his Italian contacts.
By 1720 he had amassed enough money to invest heavily in the South Sea stock. The ‘bubble’ burst, but he was able to recover his losses. From 1723 he was in the diplomatic service of the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and also represented the Duke of Modena.
He was a prominent member of an Italian circle that included composer Giovanni Bononcini and diplomat Giuseppe Riva. He was a friend of Michel Maittaire, the French-born scholar, typographer, and book collector. After his death his collection of papers and manuscripts were sold in order to pay for his debts (now in the Bodleian, Oxford, and some in the British Library).