This sweet Victorian traveling desk has lovely detailing. These travel or lap desks were extremely popular and necessary for letter writing and correspondence. The black lacquered desk is made of paper mache' and has, amazingly, survived over 150 years of use. It is hand painted in gold leaf and decorated in pieces of mother-of-pearl in floral and grape cluster designs. The domed top lifts up to reveal a red velvet interior under the lid. Here you stored quills or writing instruments. There are narrow slats for additional storage such as envelopes; storage area for an ink bottle; and a lidded shelf for more pens or pencils with a storage compartment below it. The slanted lid opens to reveal a decorative gilded writing surface with a felt covering. Underneath the lid is additional storage for stationary, letters, etc. The desk retains its original lock. All the hinges are intact and working which is unusual. Given the desk's material, they are quite vulnerable to abuse. Amazingly, the lap desk has only a few minor chips. Its finish is in remarkable condition. What a wonderful example of an early Victoriana which exemplifies the lost art and value of letter writing. 4"h X 12"w X 10"d, Condition: Very Good, Circa: 1850-1860's.