- Oil on stretched canvas
- gallery wrapped canvas, 1 1/2 inch, all surfaces painted
- 22 x 28 inch
- 55.5 x 71 cm
Elliott Museum, Stuart
Is it possible to steal a Rolls-Royce’s hood ornament? Apparently not! Click on Spirit of Ecstasy to see the video
The Spirit of Ecstasy is the bonnet ornament on Rolls-Royce cars. It is in the form of a woman leaning forwards with her arms outstretched behind and above her. Billowing cloth runs from her arms to her back, resembling wings.
But most people don’t know that the women is actually someone named Eleanor Thornton who was the love of Lord Montagu of England’s life.
But when they were sailing on a steam ship from Marseille on Christmas 1916, a torpedo shot from a German U-boat struck the boat. In the chaos that ensued, Lord Montagu tried to hold on to Eleanor, but she was swept away by the sea as the ship sank. Montagu survived only be clinging to a broken lifeboat in the cold seas for 32 hours without food or water. Even though his beloved Eleanor was surely perished, he spent his days and then years looking for her, frail and infirm from the ordeal but unable to let go one more time.
Years earlier, Montagu had taken his Rolls Royce out for drives along with Eleanor and his good friend, who was the managing director for the fine automobile company. So it was Eleanor Thornton who became the inspiration and model for the Rolls Royce hood ornament and logo we still see today, called the “Spirit of Ecstasy.”
Thus, Rolls Royce has become the icon for luxury, not just because if the performance of its cars but because of the unwavering passion, dedication, and timelessness the brand conveys, telling a story about the person driving it that goes far past bravado over a price tag.
Thank you to The Alfano Group for letting me use your article.
Annual AACA Antique Auto Show, Riverside Park, Vero Beach, Florida
Available for Sale
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