The desk is composed of an oval tray on which five removable elements rest within their own seatings: sand caster, inkwell, case for blotting-paper cylindrical quill holder and bell with a hemispherical cup and balustrade handle.

It was the first piece of silverware to enter the Museum collection as a result of the publication of the Decrees of May 30th and June 4th 1834, which proclaimed the dissolution of the monasteries, consequent to the conflicts between the Portuguese State and the Church.

It was made known via the Exposição Rectrospectiva de Arte Ornamental Portuguesa e Espanhola, of 1882 held in Lisbon and was mentioned in the respective catalogue as a gift from Pope Benedict XIV to the Liturgical Academy of the Mosteiro de Sta Cruz of Coimbra, established at his initiative.

It is related to other pieces existing in the Wallace Collection, London, the Wernher Collection, in Bedforshire and in the Louvre Museum, in Paris.