Catalog Archive
Auction 146, Lot 790

"Quincampoix in Duigen", Anon.

Subject: Satire - Stock Trading

Period: 1720 (circa)

Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid…

Color: Black & White

11.9 x 10 inches
30.2 x 25.4 cm
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This engraving is from the important account of one the most infamous financial meltdowns in history, known as the Mississippi Bubble incident. This engraved view depicts an outdoor stage that is being attacked by a mob. The windows are broken and a woman is emptying a chamber pot from one of the upper windows. In the foreground, the mob attacks Philippe II, Duke of Orleans, and the Regent of France. John Law, who has dropped his papers labeled Zuyt (for the South Sea Company), is on the ground at right, already stripped of his wig and coat. There are two columns of verses in Dutch below the scene, signed with the pseudonym Philadelphus which was used by Gysbert Tyssens (1693-1732). With text the engraving measures 11.9 x 12.3".

John Law, a Scottish financier, established the Banque Generale (central bank) in France. He was then granted control of Louisiana and founded the Compagnie de la Louisiane d'Occident, in 1717. Law developed an elaborate plan to exploit the fabulous resources of the region, which quickly gained popularity and people rushed to invest, not just in France, but throughout Europe. This resulted in the development of several other overseas companies, such as the English South Sea Company and a number of smaller companies in the Dutch Republic. The share prices rose dramatically in a frenzy of speculation. In 1720 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.


Condition: A

A dark impression on watermarked paper with marginal soiling.

Estimate: $70 - $90


Closed on 9/4/2013