"Anatomie der Wind-Negotie, of Bombario voor den Drommel", Anon.
Subject: Satire - Stock Trading
Period: 1720 (circa)
Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid…
Color: Black & White
10.4 x 8 inches
26.4 x 20.3 cm
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 a man on a table being given an autopsy by a group of individuals while a gentleman sleeps in a cradle with a stock certificate as a blanket. John Law is represented crouching in front of the table setting a globe on fire. At left is a blindfolded man who is being pick-pocketed by monkeys, while in the background a man rides a hydra-like animal into the sunset. There are three columns of verses in Dutch below the scene. With text the engraving measures 10.4 x 10.7".
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 dark impression on a bright sheet with a large medallion watermark, professionally backed in thin tissue to repairs in the text below the image.