The Spirit of Ecstasy

The Spirit of Ecstasy has been a standard feature of Rolls-Royce motor cars since 1911.

“Rolls-Royce were keen to design their own mascot because some Rolls-Royce owners were commissioning their own designs, which were not always in keeping with the ethos of the company. So Rolls-Royce’s Claude Johnson (often known as the hyphen in the name Rolls-Royce) commissioned Charles Sykes to create the now infamous ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’.”

Rolls-Royce History: Spirit of Ecstasy

Originally the Spirit of Ecstasy was made from silver, but later models were fashioned from stainless-steel, though silver and gold are still available as an option.

In 2006, The Giantto Group produced a one-of-a-kind diamond encrusted Rolls Royce Phantom mascot valued at $95,000, and four diamond covered Rolls Royce “RR” plaques valued at $12,000 a piece.

At the recent New York International Auto Show, Manhattan Motorcars displayed another diamond clad Spirit of Ecstasy aka “Nellie in her Nighty”. A creation of Jean Kemanjian which is valued at $200,000.

I suppose it is a question of taste. Every Rolls-Royce is a unique and bespoke item, and some are more bespoke than others. However these exquisite vehicles are much more than just a bling thing. The Spirit of Ecstasy was designed to help curb original Rolls-Royce owners from sticking inappropriate mascots on the front of these cars. This elegant and flowing design has since become an icon of the automotive world. With or without diamonds, the spirit remains the same.

Eleanor Velasco Thornton

Sykes claimed that the model he based his automotive icon on was Eleanor Velasco Thornton. She was also the secretary and mistress of John Walter Edward Scott-Montagu, who in 1905 became Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. Tragically Thornton was drowned in 1915 when the SS Persia was torpedoed by a German U-boat as she was travelling to India. Thankfully her spirit will go on, thanks largely to Sykes flowing mascot.

Spirit of Ecstasy Resources