The inscription reads: makhsus-e hozur-e sati' al-nur janab-e atabak-e a'zam sadr-e a'zam amir-e kabir damat ayyam-e shokatihi surat-e etmam padhiroft fi 12 (It was completed especially for the one who radiates light, His Excellency, the repository of Grandeur, the Most great Minister, the Prime Minister, the Great Amir - may the period of his splendour be ever-lasting - in 12 (AD 1848)).
The Prime Minister at the time was Mirza Taqi Khan who received all the titles mentioned on this pen-case on 22 dhi'l-qa'da 1264 (20 October 1848) on Nasir al-Din Shah's arrival to Tehran to ascend to the throne. He is the most respected politician in Iran, the founder of numerous institutions including the Dar al-Funun. Through political intrigues, he was dismissed in 1268 (AD November1851), exiled to Kashan and murdered on 18 rabi' al-awwal 1268 (10 January 1852). (M. Bamdad, Dictionary of National Biography of Iran, 1700-1960, Tehran, 1966, pp. 209-21).
Signed as: "Mahmud al-Sharif, the year 1264 (AD 1847-8)".
Mahmud al-Sharif was from Qa'in and was a painter of portrait, flower and bird, and landscape. Apart from lacquer, he worked in watercolour and siyah qalam. His recorded lacquered work include three pen-cases dated between 1264 (AD 1847-8) and 1275 (1858-9), one depicting Ihtisham al-Dawla the 17th son of 'Abbas Mirza Na'ib al-Saltana, (M.A. Karimzadeh-Tabrizi, The Lives and Art of Old Painters of Iran, vol. 3, London, 1991, pp. 1134-5).