The scroll is not signed but the style of the ornamentation suggests that it could be produced by Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray (Goraj, Poland) in the 1740s. The general layout is similar to that found in the original artwork, but the drawings here are simplified. The text columns are enclosed in frames, separated by figures of the Esther story protagonists with their names beneath inscribed in the Hebrew semicursive script below each figure; they are Ahasuerus, Vashti, Mordecai, Esther, Zeresh, and the king's seven advisers enumerated in Esther 1:14. The upper margin is filled with medallions containing busts of the princes who are the minor characters of the story (all the figures are identified by their names written in Hebrew in the same script as above). The busts are accompanied by birds, alternately with baskets (?) with flowers. The lower margin is decorated with narrative scenes from the Esther story, identified in Hebrew, and separated by lions surrounded by plants. The latter and the details on the upper margins are shown against a background of imitation cross-hatching
The scroll is mounted on a wooden roller.
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther story protagonists
L | Lion
B | Bird
B | Basket | Basket with flowers
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Flower
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments
H | Human Figure | Bust (Human figure)
P | Portrait | Portrait medallion
O | Ornamentation: | Main text framed
It seems the manuscript is well preserved.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
Every letter lamed appearing in the words המלך occurring at the head of the text column is decorated with a stroke.
For an almost identical scroll see ID 34761.
The same images are available on https://data.jck.nl/page/aggregation/jhm-museum/M012364 (accessed on 29.03.2021).
Bibliography on scrolls made by Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray or attributed to him:
Dagmara Budzioch, The Decorated Esther Scrolls from the Museum of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and the Tradition of Megillot Esther Decoration in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries – An Outline [Polish: Dekorowane zwoje Estery z Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Warszawie na tle tradycji dekorowania megilot Ester w XVII i XVIII wieku. Zarys problematyki], Warsaw 2019, 1:206-215.
Victor Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné de la collection juive du Musée de Cluny, Paris 1981, 64-66, object 73.
Mendel Metzger, The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 1966, 48/2, esp. 409, 422-425.
Ernest Namenyi, "The Illumination of Hebrew Manuscripts after the Invention of Printing," in Cecil Roth (ed.), Jewish Art, an Illustrated History (London, 1961), col. 435.
Olga Sixtova, O svitku / Form of the Scroll [katalog k výstavě konané v Galerii Roberta Guttmanna Židovského muzea v Praze od 22. června do 26. července 2006], Prag 2006, 32-33.
A Journey through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books, eds. Evelyn M. Cohen, Emile Schrijver, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Amsterdam 2009, 246-249.
Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 266-269.
A Fine Illustrated Esther Scroll, [ca. 1740], lot 105, Sotheby's New York Important Judaica, 20 December 2017 https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/lot.105.html/2017/important-judaica-n09687 (accessed on 31.07.2020).
A Magnificent Esther Scroll Written and illustrated Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray, Schwelm, 1737, lot 187, Sotheby's New York Important Judaica Including Property from the Estate of Shlomo Moussaieff, 15 December 2016 https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2016/important-judaica-n09589/lot.187.html (accessed on 31.07.2020).