Such stands and portfolios originally became popular during the Victorian era for storing music sheets and oversize manuscripts. This type of decorative item could easily be moved within a collector’s residence, making artwork such as Old Master drawings readily accessible.
Catalogue entry from: Wolfram Koeppe. The Robert Lehman Collection. Decorative Arts, Vol. XV. Wolfram Koeppe, et al. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 281.