"De Verreeze Frederik Hendrik Ouwerwets Patroon der Verkeerde Barmhertigheid &c. &c. &c.", Anon.
Subject: Satire - Stock Trading
Period: 1720 (circa)
Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid…
Color: Black & White
12.7 x 10 inches
32.3 x 25.4 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 title of this elaborate engraving translates as Frederick Henry arisen, the ancient patron of ill-placed commiseration. Prince Frederick Henry is on the left, holding his cape open to shelter three naked victims of the Mississippi Bubble. To the right of the tree, a boy defecates on the head of a man buried in the ground. In the background is John Law offering a bag of money to two monks in front of a church, who refuse his offering. There are three 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 price of the (Carte du Mexique et de la Floride) 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 marginal soiling.