The Rolls Royce Hood Ornament And The Story of Forbidden Passion Behind It

The very first Rolls-Royce motorcars didn’t have hood ornaments. They simply carried the Rolls-Royce emblem. Apparently, that wasn’t good enough for some of their customers, who believed that such a prestigious vehicle should have its own luxurious mascot. Enter ‘The Spirit of Ecstasy’, also called “Emily”, “Silver Lady” or “Flying Lady”, designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes. The back story is interesting… The Spirit of Ecstacy is symbolic of a secret liaison between John Walter Montagu, and the model for the emblem, Eleanor Velasco Thornton. She was the secretary of John Walter, who fell in love with her in 1902. Their secret affair was to remain hidden, limited to their circle of friends, for more than a decade. John Walter Montagu was a married man. The Rolls Royce Hood ornament has also been a much coveted ‘souvenir’. You can find them on E-Bay and they aren’t cheap. Lately though, they’ve become harder to steal. The ornament is now loaded on a spring-loaded mechanism designed to retract instantly if tampered with. See the demonstration below…



Image source: By NoslivRage – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Posted in Steve Boyton, The Lounge, Whats Happening Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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