The Spirit of Ecstasy

The figure of a lady which has adorned the front of Rolls-Royce automobiles for the past century is modeled on a real woman - Eleanor Velasco Thornton, the lover of automotive pioneer John Walter Edward Scott-Montagu.  He commissioned artist Charles Robinson Sykes to design a mascot for the bonnet of his Silver Ghost.   In the original version - "The Whisper" - the lady was pressing a finger against her lips to symbolize the secret nature of a love affair which could not be publicized because of her lower social status.  Over the years "The Whisper" evolved to the current "Spirit of Ecstasy" (also known as "Ellie in her Nightie").

...Sykes called it "A graceful little goddess, the Spirit of Ecstasy, who has selected road travel as her supreme delight and alighted on the prow of a Rolls-Royce motor car to revel in the freshness of the air and the musical sound of her fluttering draperies."

Today's Spirit of Ecstasy stands at 3 inches and, for safety, is mounted on a spring-loaded mechanism designed to retract instantly into the radiator shell if struck from any direction. There is a button within the vehicle which can retract/extend the emblem when pressed. She can be made of highly polished stainless steel, sterling silver or 24-carat gold, the sterling silver and gold being optional extras.

Futher details about the ornament are available at Wikipedia and The Telegraph, via the New Shelton wet/dry (whence the photo).

Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"The Spirit of Ecstasy"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More