The English coffee house in Amsterdam, with people trading shares; with vignettes showing the rise and fall of the share price boom of 1720. Etching, ca. 1720.

Part of:
Groote tafereel der dwaasheid.
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About this work


The central image shows men trading shares in the English coffee house in Amsterdam (nicknamed Quinquenpoix after the location of the stock exchange in Paris). On the left, a woman refuses a waiter who asks for coffee from her large pot; in the foreground, a woman sits on a bench selling gingerbread-nuts from a large pot, a man offers eggs for sale, saying "better than shares"; a Savoyard boy carries a magic-lantern on his back, a sailor offers English red herrings from two baskets, and three men sit at a table; beyond, stock-brokers and investors flock into the room

Four vignettes in the corners of the print depict the rise and fall of the shareholders. Top left, 'The heyday of the shareholders' (men crowd outside a house congratulating themselves on their profits from share dealing); bottom left, 'The fall of the shareholders' (men bemoan their losses, one falling from the top of a ladder which another begins to climb); top right, 'The exodus of the shareholders' (investors and their families embark on a ship to sail for the East Indies and a Dutch sailor wishes them well); bottom right 'The return of clean business' (Minerva works at her loom, as worthwhile industry returns to the Netherlands).


[Amsterdam] : [publisher not identified], [1720?]

Physical description

1 print : etching, with engraving ; platemark 27.7 cm x 35.2 cm


Der grosse Versammel-platz der Wind Verkäuffer A. 1720 De grote vergader-plaats der windverköpers van 't jaar Ao 1720. Translation of lettering: "The great meeting-place of the wind sellers in the year 1720." Below the image, Dutch verses engraved in four columns


'Het groote tafereel der dwaasheid', Amsterdam, 1720, is a collection of literary and pictorial satires relating to the Dutch speculation bubble of 1720, which occurred simultaneously with the South Sea bubble and the Mississippi bubble involving John Law. This print is one of the many in that collection: see A.H. Cole, op. cit.

References note

Frederik Muller, De nederlandsche geschiedenis in platen. Beredeneerde beschrijving van nederlandsche historieplaten, zinneprenten en historische kaarten, Amsterdam 1863, part 2, no. 3557 (22)
British Museum, Catalogue of political and personal satires, vol. 2, London 1954, no. 1661
Arthur H. Cole, The great mirror of folly (Het groote tafereel der dwaasheid). An economic-bibliographical study, Boston 1949, no. 22
Frans De Bruyn, 'Reading Het groote tafereel der dwaasheid: an emblem book of the folly of speculation in the bubble year 1720', Eighteenth-century life, 2000, 24: 1-42, p. 39, no. 31


Wellcome Collection 812076i


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