History of the President's Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, White House

History of the Resolute Desk

See our video

When the HMS Resolute was broken up, two more desks were made:

The second is a Writing Table which was kept for many years in Buckingham Palace, but is now on loan to the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth England. As can be seen, the style and carving detail of this writing table are completely different from the Resolute Desk.

The non-idential twin Resolute Desk

It bears a brass plate with an inscription with similar - but not identical - wording to that on the Resolute Desk

Brass Plaque on the Writing Table

The third desk, a delicately fashioned lady's desk known as the "Queen Victoria Desk" or the "Grinnell Desk" was a gift from the Queen to Henry Grinnell's widow (Henry died in 1874), in gratitude for his contribution toward the Franklin rescue attempts. In 1983 it was presented by Peter S. Grinnell to the New Bedford Whaling Museum where it is on display.

Grinnell Desk

There has been some confusion about whether yet another desk exists that is an identical twin to the one in the Oval Office. We wrote to the Royal Collection at St James's Palace in London to ask for clarification, and they were kind enough to send us this reply:

I am afraid that in reality there was never any twin desk made. As I am sure you are aware, the famous desk in the Oval Office of the White House was made from the timbers of the HMS Resolute. Papers in the Royal Archives do confirm there was also a small writing table made for Queen Victoria. This is the table you have seen which is now at the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth. As you have noticed, it is much smaller and different in style from the Presidents desk, and cannot really be described as a twin.


David Newton, Owner

Thank you for your interest in the Antique Replica Furniture. Since 1990, Victorian Replicas has been importing pieces which faithfully replicate the materials and methods used 200 and more years ago.

We have many different hand-carved mahogany replicas of English Antiques in Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Regency, Queen Anne and english Victorian styles. We have a 48 page color catalog which shows some 500 different items: Chairs, foot stools, duet stools, dining tables, beds, sofas, cabinets, mirrors, etc. etc. This collection was developed over many years by select Antique Dealers such as D.C. Stuart of Bournemouth, England. The catalog is available for a small charge to cover air-freight and postage charges.

I think the main feature of the furniture that we sell is the QUALITY that is a result of the relationship that we have built up with our supplier of over 25 years. Quality starts with his contracts with the government-supervised mahogany plantations and continues through final sanding, assembly and finishing. This control gives us the confidence to offer you furniture that is well-made from best quality wood - true replicas of quality pieces that have stood the test of time and that should give you and your family pleasure for generations to come!

I'll be delighted to answer any questions!
(415) 552 6367

Click here for details of our resolute furniture

Resolute Desk