Traces of Absence / Schroders

A collection of 19th and 20th century bond and share certificates from Schroders + treated brass and nickel silver
105 x 165 cm each (triptych)

Commissioned by Schroders, this work celebrates the history of a financial institution that has been in London for more than two centuries. Using traces of the past – documents ranging from 1864-1967, illustrating over a hundred years of the markets’ success, boom and bust – it is brought alive in the company’s boardroom. The elaborately bordered sheets of bond and share certificates, weighty in their lure of possible reward, are uncovered; opened after being deemed as no longer of any value. Their pictures – detailed drawings of a bridge, railway or gold mine – reveal the object of their investment, a history of projects that inspired endeavour and risk. Alongside each bond certificate are the payment coupons, exquisitely detailed miniature notes; unrecognisable to use now, these were once used to claim the gleaning from the half-year’s interest. Ranging from brown to blue to red, each colour is indicative of value – brown often the cheapest, red the richest – forming a rainbow of opportunity for those lucky enough to invest. Embossed with imprints, fingerprints and tax stamps, these were once working documents – a fluttering of dreams and hopes, the leaves of many livelihoods. A marbling of colour, with dark veins of commerce, venture and luck, these papers are the layers of a market over time; the building of businesses, the glint of gold flickering between.
The Queen has opened the new headquarters of Schroders plc in the City of London. During the visit, The Queen was given a tour of the new building, including the investment team floor. She was also shown items from the company's archive demonstrating its 200 year history as well the latest innovative technologies. Twitter feed @RoyalFamily: "An archivist showed Her Majesty artwork made out of old bonds and share certificates from Schroders 214 year history; the oldest from 1864 and the most recent from 1967." The Royal Family, November 7, 2018


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