"[Lot of 8 Caricatures - Mississippi Bubble]", Anon.
Period: 1720 (published)
Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid …
Color: Black & White
4 x 6.2 inches
10.2 x 15.7 cm
This group of engravings are from a satirical account of the collapse of the French Compagnie de la Louisiane d'Occident, known as the Mississippi Bubble incident, and one of the most infamous financial meltdowns in history. John Law, a Scottish financier, established the company in 1717 and was granted control of Louisiana. Law developed an elaborate plan to exploit the fabulous resources of the region, which quickly gained popularity and people rushed to invest. Share prices opened at 500 livres and rapidly rose to 18,000 livres. At this point the bubble burst; speculators cashed in, caused a run on the shares, and the company went bankrupt. As a consequence of the failure, confidence in other similar companies failed, and thousands of individual investors across Europe were ruined. There is plenty of inspiration here for a present-day political cartoonist.
1) Bombario Actionist ende Geest van Esopus (the share-jobber and the ghost of Aesop)
2) Actieuse Nacht-Wind-Zanger met zyn Tover Slons (night singer of shares, with his magic-lantern)
3) Natuur Actie-Doctor of klap-achtig Bobbel Meester (natural stock doctor, or bubbling bubble master)
4) Directrice der Vervalle Actie-Regimenten; en byzonderlyk van Natuurlyke Lawe Actien (the directress of the decayed stock-regiments)
5) Verhens-Beker van Fi-ane of Vianen (Drinking cup, of Finance)
6) Rector Magnificus van de Ongeactioneerde Litteratuur (The rector magnificent of shareless literature)
7) Ontsprongen rondom bedekte Blaaskaak (The boaster (John Law) who has escaped)
8) Contrarolleur van de Gelukkige en rampzalige Lapis-zoekers (The controller of the fortunate and miserable lapis seekers, or searchers for the philosopher's stone)