This is an example of a period Desk Box. Crafted of wood, brass, and mother of pearl, it is a fine desk box that includes compartments and a drawer for storage of items. It measures about 8.2″ x 21″ x 10.2″. For source and more details, click here.
Image from: http://www.cr.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/revwar/image_gal/morrimg/lapdesk.html