This is a very nicely decorated brass pen and ink well holder. The decorations are pressed into or craved out of the brass. The pen holder is set up for placing a quill, we believe , in the cylinder like area. The ink well is attached to the side of the cylinder. I do not know how the ink would be held in place with the lid as loose as it is so obviously it was originally much tighter. We have not cleaned it. We felt that leaving the orignial patina was best. On one side of the cylinder are letters that we believe to be the signature of the maker. It is a nice interesting piece.