Robert Whitley Presidential gift to the hermitage

Presidential Gift from the United States to the Russian People The Hermitage, National Museum of U.S.S.R., Leningrad

The design and creation of a presentation chest and a game-playing board to accommodate a chess set. These were a gift from the people of the United States of America to the people of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, presented by President Richard M. Nixon.

The chest was made from highly-figured curly American black walnut wood and the board was made from the same wood plus curly maple for the contrasting squares. The challenge in designing the presentation chest was that it not only had to be an accomplished work of art but had to, at the same time, accommodate a large chess set, sized in such a way to enable President Nixon to hold it between his arms while officially presenting it.Robert Whitley Presidential gift to the russian people


Highly-figured and rare curly American black walnut wood was chosen to construct the chest. This same wood, plus American curly hard maple, were chosen for the contrasting squares of the board.

The chest and board with the chess figures are now displayed in the National Museum of Russia in Leningrad.