South Sea Bubble prints

Collection Data

The South Sea Company was formed in 1711 as a venture to make money through New World investments. A decade later, however, what had originated as a legitimate enterprise devolved, through massive over-speculation in England, France, and the Netherlands, into a financial catastrophe on an enormous scale. Many prominent investors lost huge sums, and much of Europe was plunged into a severe economic depression after the stock market crash of 1720. Artists and engravers quickly capitalized on the events and hundreds of prints were soon published about the affair. "Het Groote Tafereel Der Dwaasheid" ("The Great Mirror of Folly"), published in Amsterdam in 1720, merged images and text to satirize the speculative burst of the financial markets in Europe at that time. One favorite target was Scottish financier John Law (1671-1729), whose Mississippi Bubble investment scheme involving the French colonies in North America ended in financial collapse. Prints from this volume make up the bulk of NYPL's South Sea Bubble collection, with additional printmakers such as Bernard Picart, Bernard Baron, and Thomas Cook also represented in the collection as well.
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1720 (Approximate)
Library locations
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection
Shelf locator: MEZYG
South Sea Bubble, Great Britain, 1720
Political satire
Physical Description
Type of Resource
Still image
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): a75585d0-7691-0137-6535-0dbc937f9fc2
Show filters Hide filters
175 results found