"Mre. Jean Law coner. du roy en tous ces conils. controleur gnal des finances en 1720", Schenk, Leonard
Subject: Portrait, Mississippi Bubble
Period: 1720 (circa)
Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid
Color: Hand Color
6.8 x 10.5 inches
17.3 x 26.7 cm
This is a fine portrait of the infamous Scottish financier John Law. Exiled to Europe because of a duel, Law managed to become a financial adviser to the Duke of Orleans. Law proposed the establishment of a state-chartered bank with the power to issue unbacked paper currency, the Banque Générale, which was established in 1716. He also established the Mississippi Company, an enterprise designed to develop the French colony of Louisiana. Law's schemes quickly gained popularity and people throughout Europe 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 bank, and plunged France and Europe into a severe economic crisis. The incident, known as the Mississippi Bubble, is one of the most infamous financial meltdowns in history.