This art nouveau style desk was made from an oak tree grown at Clydehill, the home of John McNair Mitchell, in the Dunedin suburb of Mornington. Glasgow-born Mitchell emigrated to Australia at the time of the Victorian gold rushes and around 1856 he and James Fergusson established a successful printing and stationery company in Melbourne. Mitchell moved to Dunedin in 1862 and set up a New Zealand branch of the company here. Later he purchased the struggling Otago Paper Mill at Woodhaugh and turned it into a profitable enterprise. The mill amalgamated with two others at Mataura in Southland and Riverhead in Auckland in 1905 to become the NZ Paper Mills Ltd. John Mitchell was NZ Paper Mills’ chairman of directors. The desk was crafted in 1918, a few years after John Mitchell’s death.