For more than a century, nearly every American President has used a splendid desk that, in another life, sailed the seas.
The story begins with Royal Navy officer and explorer, Sir John Franklin who was commanding officer on a voyage, beginning in 1845, intended to traverse the last unnavigated section of the Northwest Passage. His two ships became icebound in Victoria Strait near King William Island in the Canadian Arctic, and the entire expedition complement, including Franklin and 128 men, was lost.
Then in 1852, Admiral Sir Edward Belcher was given the nearly impossible mission of searching for the missing ships commanded by Franklin, although he was not wholly suited to command vessels in the icy waters of the Arctic. Four of his five ships were abandoned in pack ice. One of the ships, the HMS Resolute, was later recovered, intact, by an American whaler. Timbers from the ship were used to manufacture three desks, one of which, the Resolute desk, was presented to President Rutherford Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1879 as a token of friendship and goodwill. American Presidents have conducted the country's business across the glorious Resolute Desk ever since.
President Kennedy cherished the fabled desk. It became lodged in the national memory when young John Kennedy Jr. was photographed peering from behind the kneehole panel as his father worked above. By the time President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 the desk was so well known it became a precious museum piece. After being on exhibit for ten years at the Smithsonian Institution, the Resolute Desk was once again put into use by President Jimmy Carter, and the treasured piece of history currently serves President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.
Offered for sale is an extremely rare, museum-quality exacting replica of the Resolute Desk, hand-crafted by credentialed artisans, carpenters and wood-carvers. In order to ensure an historically-precise reproduction, they studied the drawings of William Evenden, designer and builder of the original Resolute desk at the Chatham dockyard. It measures 72-inches in length x 48-inches in width x 31-inches in height. Functional drawers and cupboard doors open from both sides of the desk. And, just like the White House original, an attached brass plate is inscribed with the message from Queen Victoria. The Resolute is an extraordinary desk, whose history is as fascinating as the Presidents it has served.
Materials: (Option 1) Construction in solid Oak (as shown), or (Option 2) construction in solid mahogany, both with historically-accurate, hand-dyed, gold-gilded "walnut" leather top. Total weight is 500 pounds.
History Company's reproduction of the H.M.S. Resolute Desk has been installed in the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the George and Barbara Bush Center at the University of New England, near Kennebunkport, Maine. Other desks have been custom-built for motion picture studios as well as private homes and executive offices.
Please consider the purchase of the H.M.S. Resolute Desk as a once-in-a-lifetime investment. We will provide you with a detailed package of information with everything you need to know about this extraordinary reproduction. For additional information or to request wood or leather samples, phone (800) 891-0466.