A Dutch walnut writing box with brass mounts
Early 18th century
H. 20 x W. 47 x D. 28 cm
The interior is divided in various compartments for an inkpot, sand dispenser, pens, and papers. A similar walnut writing box that belonged to Joan van Hoorn, governor-general for the VOC in Batavia (Jakarta), 1704-1709, was exhibited in the Tropenmuseum Amsterdam, Wonen in de wijde wereld, 20 December 1963 - 16 March 1964 (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, no. 155).
Writing boxes for papers, pens, and ink pots, were a basic requirement for East India Company officials and merchants in faraway trading posts. They were obliged to regularly write communications about everything of potential interest to the High Government of the Company in Batavia (Jakarta).