When you open the lid, there is a metal tray, with an indent for your pen, and two brown ceramic inkwells (one for blue/black, one for red ink).
Lift out the tray and you can store your writing paper, envelopes and stamps in the box below. I am guessing these were a novelty Christmas item, probably sold full of toffees but with a practical use for Daddy after the toffees were eaten.
I am sure when it was new the outside tin really did look like fine marquetry timbers.
Just another inkwell from our collection,
the fun of collecting inkwells is the diversity of the objects.