The Resolute desk is a large, nineteenth-century partners' desk used by seven presidents of the United States in the White House Oval Office as the Oval Office desk. It was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880 and was built from the English oak timbers of the British Arctic exploration ship HMS Resolute. Franklin Roosevelt requested the addition of a door with the presidential seal to conceal his leg braces. Many presidents since Hayes, except Johnson, Nixon, and Ford, have used the desk at various locations in the White House.
The desk was removed from the White House only once, after the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, when President Lyndon Johnson allowed it to go on a traveling exhibition with the Kennedy Presidential Library. After this it was on display in the Smithsonian Institution.
President Jimmy Carter brought the desk back to the Oval Office in 1977, where Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have used it. George H. W. Bush used the C&O desk in the Oval Office, but kept the Resolute desk in the White House.
The original design plan and elevation for the "President's Desk" were created on September 9, 1879. They are now kept by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England and can be viewed online.
The National Maritime Museum's September 9, 1879 design plans are drawings for two different gifts proposed by the Admiralty but never executed, a "Secretaire" and a "Library Table". The library table and the President's secretaire were never implemented and these proposed gifts were replaced with William Evenden's 1880 Resolute desk. The Evenden desk delivered to President Hayes does not accord with the plan held at Greenwich except for the order imperative that it "be made from the timbers of the late Arctic Ship 'Resolute'".
is probably one of the largest ‘families’ of hardwood, having many different varieties within its own species.
Mahogany has been used for centuries in ship building, house building, furniture making etc and is the core structure of just about every 19th century vanity box, dressing case or jewellery box. It became more of a Victorian trend to dress Mahogany with these decorative veneers, such as Rosewood, Kingwood, Burr Walnut and Coromandel, so that the actual Mahogany was almost hidden from view.
Mahogany itself is a rich reddish brown wood that can range from being plain in appearance to something that is so vibrant, figured and almost three dimensional in effect.
Although Mahogany was most often used in its solid form, it also provided some beautifully figured varieties of veneer like ‘Flame’ Mahogany and ‘Fiddleback’ Mahogany (named after its preferred use in the manufacture of fine musical instruments).
Cuban Mahogany was so sought after, that by the late 1850′s, this particular variety became all but extinct.