"Tytel-Print der Actie-Kraam of Voor-hof van Quinquenpoix", Anon.
Subject: Satire - Stock Trading
Period: 1720 (published)
Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid
Color: Black & White
9.3 x 12.3 inches
23.6 x 31.2 cm
This satirical engraving is from the important account of one the most infamous financial meltdowns in history, known as the Mississippi Bubble incident. The central engraving was printed from a separate plate, and shows John Law kneeling before a reclining female figure representing Deception. Above them two putti shoot arrows at an eye. This scene is surrounded by an oval wreath that is filled with symbolic images related to the incident, including at top False Fortune handing bags of wind to several men, and a man counting his money at bottom. There are two columns of verses in Dutch below the engraving.
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 price of the Compagnie de la Louisiane d'Occident 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 watermarked sheet with a couple of ink stains in the image and a few minor creases. There are some tiny edge tears, light toning along the edges of the sheet, and two small chips that have been professionally repaired. Narrow right margin.