The iconic hood ornament appearing on Rolls-Royce models over the years has become awidely-recognized symbol of the prestigious marquee. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the automaker announced 100 special-edition Phantoms to be built, and a new exhibition will share the history behind the iconic brand and the trademark hood ornament.
Appearing on every Rolls-Royce model since 1911, the Spirit of Ecstasy is much more than just the automaker’s emblem — it represents an age-old love affair between a motoring pioneer and his secretary. The exhibition offers more details on the secret passion that John Montagu, also editor of The Car Illustrated magazine, and Eleanor Thompson shared, and how British artist and sculptor, Charles Sykes brought the Spirit of Ecstasy to life.
“I am pleased, in this centenary year, to be able to tell the story behind the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, especially the part that my grandfather John Montagu and his personal assistant Eleanor Thornton played in bringing this iconic mascot to life,” said grandson Ralph Montagu.
Eleanor’s grandsons, John and Richard Moorby, unveiled the exhibition opening to display original artworks rarely seen in public, including Charles Skykes special edition covers for Montagu’s magazine, The Car Illustrated.
The exhibition will be on display at the Montagu family’s home of Palace House in Hampshire, England from May 5 to October 2011.