In this scroll, rectangular text panels are surrounded by hand-drawn pen and ink decorations. This decoration is composed of dense foliate and floral ornamentation in which putti, fruit-filled vases, and portrait medallions with busts of characters from the Esther story are woven. The lower margins are adorned with cartouches containing the narrative scenes from the Book of Esther. These elongated ovular frames are each decorated with a shell motif. Additionally, every second cartouche is flanked by a pair of lions. The background of the scroll is filled with hand-drawn imitation cross-hatching. Every sheet except for sheet no. 5 includes three text panels and three cartouches; only the last sheet contains two panels. This particular manuscript is not signed, but judging from the style, it can be attributed to the artist and scribe, Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray (Pol. Goraj), Poland, active in the 18th century (see "Summary and Remarks").
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 6 sheets (the last sheet is blank and was used for stitching of the manuscript to the roller) containing 14 text columns
Ruling - double lines
The possible maker of the scroll - Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray (18th century, dates of life unknown) was a prolific artist and scribe who used to include scribal notes in the manuscripts and due to them, some stages of his career can be traced. The earliest evidence of his artistic activity is proved by the scrolls dated to 1732 and 1733 created when he still was in Goray (Pol. Goraj, Poland), his hometown. Around 1737 his presence and activity are testified in Germany and in the 1740s in Italy. Here he executed at least four examples of the decorated scrolls and in some other adorned with printed frames designed by Francesco Griselini (see "Griselini scrolls" in the Index) he copied the text of Megillah. The latest manuscript including Aryeh Leib's colophon is dated to 1755 and was written in France. The scrolls created over 20 years of his activity as an artist and a scribe show that his style developed and transformed from the manuscripts painted in multicolored and delicate water paints to those decorated solely in a pen and brown ink that feature his mature style. So far, no manuscripts - other than Esther scrolls - produced by him have been found.
For other scrolls decorated by this artist-scribe (or attributed to him) see IDs 1426, 23765, 23767, 34761, and 36685.
For a copy of his scroll printed on paper see IDs 34785 and 36309.
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 megillot 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).