Vizagapatam was renowned for its cabinet-making industry which combined western forms with Indian ornamentation inspired by Coromandel chintzes, in particular inlaying wood with a profusion of distinctive floral designs in ivory, the ivory being boldly engraved and highlighted with lac (Amin Jaffer, Furniture from British India and Ceylon', London, 2001, pp. 172-175).
Work boxes and writing- slopes were a prerequisite for East India Company officials and merchants stationed in India and many naturally were brought back to Europe. A closely related work-box or casket is in the Victoria and Albert Museum (illustrated, ibid, p. 188, no. 39).
Related work boxes include one sold anonymously, Sotheby's, London, 5 June 2007, lot 175 (£9000 including premium), another
sold Sotheby's, London, 22 November 2006, lot 232, (£15,600 including premium) and a third, sold Sotheby's, London, 22 November 2006, lot 233 (£10,800 including premium)