Jonathan’s Coffee House or an Analysis of Change Alley. With a Group of Characters from the Life — Inscrib’d to Jacob Henriques.
- Author: O’NEALE, Jeffereyes Hamett
- Publication place: London
- Publisher: Daniel Paillet, John Spilsbury and Edward Sumpter
- Publication date: 1763.
- Physical description: Engraved print, text below, slight loss to left portion of text.
- Dimensions: 244 by 318mm (9.5 by 12.5 inches).
- Inventory reference: 10866
The room is Jonathan’s Coffee House, one of a number of coffee houses and meeting places on ‘Exchange Alley’, described as “the general-mart of stock-jobbers” by Tatler at the time. It is considered to have been the original site of the London Stock Exchange, after a Huguenot banker called Jonathan Castaing began to post a biweekly digest of stick prices, bullion prices and exchange rates there in 1698. This coincided with the expulsion of a number of dealers from the Royal Exchange for rowdiness; they relocated to Jonathan’s and other nearby institutions. By the time this print was produced, Jonathan’s was well-established as a centre of financial trade; it had burned down and been rebuilt in 1748, and in 1761 150 of the brokers and dealers had formed an official club to buy and sell shares there.
The print refers to the financial panic at the end of the Seven Years War, when excessive lending led to a collapse of the credit structure throughout Europe. English stocks were particularly affected by Dutch investors who recalled capital. Fluctuations in the money markets were prime targets for caricaturists and satirists, particularly after the considerable impact of the South Sea Bubble in 1720.