"De Kornet van Vuil Gewin of Wortel en Besse Postiljon...", Anon.
Subject: Satire - Stock Trading
Period: 1720 (published)
Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid…
Color: Black & White
10.6 x 12.9 inches
26.9 x 32.8 cm
This engraving is from the important account of one the most infamous financial meltdowns in history, known as the Mississippi Bubble incident. This main focus of the engraving is a man riding a pig, while several other men on foot use switches to herd the pig. The man on the pig is eating carrots and drinking from a flask, while the pig eats carrots and stock notes. Above them fly harpies attached together with a string that is held by a putto, who also holds a fool's cap. In the background is a building flying a flag that reads "the company is full" while several men throw documents out the window at an awaiting group of speculators. There are two columns of verses in Dutch below the scene.
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.
A nice impression on a sheet with a horn coat of arms watermark and marginal soiling. There is a large chip confined to the bottom blank margin that has been professionally repaired.