Down to Earth Origin of Rolls-Royce's Spirit of Ecstasy

By Joel Arellano | May 21, 2012
The "Spirit of Ecstasy" is the famous hood ornament adorning virtually every Rolls-Royce exotic car on the planet, both past and present. The ornament, a woman whose windswept arms and flowing robes suggest angel's wings, is reminiscent of mermaids and other female figures affixed on sailing ships' bow. The Spirit of Ecstasy's origin is subject of the latest film produced by famed director Martin Scorsese. Scorsese, whose films include Taxi Driver, Gangs of New York, and recently, Hugo, will join Lord Attenborough and Anthony Haas to produce the film, Silver Ghost. The upcoming movie covers the life of Lord John Douglas-Scott Montagu of Beaulieu and his friendship with Charles Rolls and Henry Royce who founded the Rolls-Royce brand. Specifically, Silver Ghost (which is the name of a 1920's Rolls-Royce model), highlights the three-way love triangle between Douglas-Scott Montagu, his wife Cris, and Eleanor Velasco Thorton, who not only served as the inspiration to the original Spirit of Ecstasy design but was Montagu's secretary and mistress as well. States Scorsese, “When I read the story of ‘Silver Ghost,’ I was mesmerized. I immediately thought: this is a picture that has to be made. And when I was asked to come aboard as a Producer alongside Richard Attenborough and Anthony Hass, I didn't hesitate for a moment."'s take: We find the down-to-earth origin of some of the world's most beloved brands and symbols fascinating, and many of our viewers agree. Source: Beaulieu Estate