Historical Origin And Design Inspiration
Note: In Respect For The History Of The Resolute Desk - We Do Not Make Poor Quality C & C Carved Oak Replicas. We Only Reproduce In The Same Hand And materials As The Original
Note: All Proceeds From These Desk Go To Our Foundation For The Advancement Of American Craftsmanship Apprentice Programs And Are Not For Profit.
The Resolute desk is a , nineteenth-century partners' desk often chosen by presidents of the United States for use in the White House Oval Office. It was a present from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880 and was built from the timbers of the British barque-rigged ship HMS Resolute. Every president since Hayes, except Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford, has used the desk. President George H. W. Bush had the desk moved to the Treaty Room in the Executive Residence because he preferred the desk he used when he was vice president; later, President Bill Clinton returned the Resolute to the Oval Office.
HMS Resolute was part of a four-ship squadron under Edward Belcher sent in the early 1850s to search for famed English explorer Sir John Franklin, who was searching for the Northwest Passage to Asia. The Resolute and one of her sister ships became lodged in the Arctic ice, and after two full seasons, remained stuck. Following the second summer, the commander of the expedition instructed the crews of the two ships to board the two ships that lay outside the ice and sail back to England.
After their return, Belcher was court-martialed for abandoning a seaworthy vessel, as the Resolute broke loose of the ice the subsequent summer and was found by an American fishing vessel captained by James Buddington.
The Resolute was towed into port and purchased by Congress for $40,000 and refitted. The Resolute was presented to Queen Victoria on December 17, 1856 as a token of peace. The Resolute served in the Royal Navy for 23 years following its return. When the ship was decommissioned in 1879, the British government arranged for a desk to be made from its timbers. It was built by William Evenden, a skilled joiner employed at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham. It was presented to President Hayes on 23 November 1880.
A plate on the front of the desk bears the following inscription: H.M.S. RESOLUTE forming part of the expedition sent in search of SIR JOHN FRANKLIN IN 1852, was abandoned in latitude 74 degrees 41 minutes N longitude 101 degrees 22 minutes W on 15th May 1854. She was discovered and extricated in September 1855 in latitude 67 degrees N by Captain Buddington of the United States Whaler GEORGE HENRY.
The ship was purchased, fitted out and sent to England as a gift to HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA by the PRESIDENT AND PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES as a token of goodwill & friendship. This table was made from her timbers when she was broken up, and is presented by the QUEEN OF GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES as a memorial of the courtesy and loving kindness which dictated the offer of the gift of the RESOLUTE.
The desk was first commonly used by the president in his private study in the residence either in the present Yellow Oval Room or the Treaty Room. President John F. Kennedy first placed it in the Oval Office in 1961. Some presidents, such as George H. W. Bush, have used the desk in their private study rather than the Oval Office. Presently the desk has been in the Oval Office for the past 16 years, serving Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and current president, Barack Obama.
An exact twin of the American Resolute Desk resided for many years in the Chambers of Her Majesty the Queen in Buckingham Palace, London, England, UK. It was built to be an identical twin from the same timbers. It is currently thought to reside in Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, UK
ModificationsThe desk has been modified twice. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a front panel in order to hide his wheelchair. The hinged panel was commissioned in 1944 but was not delivered until 1945, following Roosevelt's death. President Truman had the panel installed anyway. The panel features the presidential seal one of only four in the White House that have the eagle's head turned towards the 13 arrows in the eagle's left talon, as opposed to the now-official arrangement with the eagle turned towards the olive branch in the right talon with the 13 leaves.
The second modification to the desk was made under Ronald Reagan. President Reagan brought his chair from the capitol in California; it was tall enough that his knees bumped into the desk when he moved. As a result, the desk was raised two inches to accommodate Reagan and his chair; this was achieved by adding a separate, uniform base to the desk to make way for his chair.