The desk is an exceptional example of tarkashi (wire drawing) work, a technique of inlaying wire into wood practiced by members of the Ojha caste in Mainpuri, a town near Agra, Northern India. At the hands of F.S. Growse, Assistant Magistrate in the region from 1864-7, local artisans were encouraged to apply their traditional skills to western furniture forms, supervised by Growse. Among the pieces he commissioned in 1867 was a writing-table intended for the Agra Exhibition of 1867. The application of a variety of virtuoso designs onto the surface of this desk suggests that this piece was itself intended as a showpiece at exhibition (A. Jaffer, Furniture from British India and Ceylon, London, 2001, pp. 305-6).