7 December 2017
BELCHER EXPEDITION – Voyages in the Arctic Seas, from 1821 to 1825, for the Discovery of a Northwest Passage. London: C.J.G. & F. Rivington, 1831.
A poignant artifact from an important Franklin Search expedition, in Admiralty binding and with contemporary inscription describing the desertion and rescue of the Resolute, commanded by Edward Belcher. The inscription is on the upper inside cover and reads in full: "This book formed a portion of the library of the Resolute, which was abandoned in the Arctic regions & after floating more than 1000 miles, was found by a vessel from New London & brought to the U.S. after 14 months from the period when she was deserted." In April of 1854, the Resolute was abandoned in the slowly moving floe ice in which it had been trapped since the preceding August and her men marched across the ice to join the other ships of the expedition. It was not until September 1855 that the Resolute was rescued by an American whaler on the open seas off Baffin Island. The U.S. returned the ship to Great Britain and as a token of thanks Queen Victoria presented President Hayes with a desk made from its wood. The "Resolute" desk remains in the Oval Office of the White House to this day.
12mo (137 x 90mm). Wood-engraved plates, including frontispiece. Contemporary sheep with Admiralty shield blindstamped on upper cover; custom clamshell (mild browning, rebacked with hinges reinforced). Provenance: Bonhams, 4 December 2012, lot 11.
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