The complete series of eight engravings from Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid (more commonly known as "The Mirror of Folly"), published in Amsterdam in 1720, serves as an incisive commentary on the speculative fever that gripped the early 18th century. The series, replete with callot figures and allegorical narratives, presents a biting critique of the speculative frenzy associated with the South Sea Bubble and John Law's Mississippi scheme, among others.
The engraved scenes, rich in allegorical and symbolic detail, depict characters embodying different facets of the speculative frenzy. For instance, "Bombario Share Trader and the Ghost of Aesop" or "The Share Trading Night Singer with His Magic Lantern" illustrate the irrationality and whimsy of market speculation, drawing upon well-known cultural references to communicate their critique. Other engravings, such as "Mistress of the Fallen Share Regiments; and Particularly of Natural Law Shares" or "Drinking Cup of Fi-åne or Vianen," underline the aftermath of such speculative excess, with echoes of the real financial ruin that many experienced.
The set includes (translated to English):
- Bombario Share Trader and the Ghost of Aesop.
- The Share Trading Night Singer with His Magic Lantern.
- Natural Share Doctor or Garrulous Bubble Master.
- Mistress of the Fallen Share Regiments; and Particularly of Natural Law Shares.
- Drinking Cup of Fi-åne or Vianen.
- Rector Magnificus of the Nonspeculative Literature.
- Arisen around the Decked Out Windbag.
- The Controller of the Fortunate and Unfortunate Lapis Seekers.