Does the name Spirit of Ecstasy, mean anything to you? How well do you know your classic cars?
If you know anything about the various models of Rolls Royce, you will immediately know what is missing from my painting.
And if you don’t, the name of the painting should give you a clue.
History – The Spirit of Ecstasy
On the bonnet of every Rolls Royce car you will find an iconic symbol of luxury and elegance.
In the form of a woman leaning forwards with outstretched arms behind and above her. The Spirit Of Ecstasy is the ornament that adorns the bonnet.
Lord Montague, a British Conservative politician, commissioned the first of these bonnet ornaments.
He approached the sculptor, Charles Robinson Sykes a Royal College of Art graduate to develop the first figure.
The model for the figure was Eleanor Thornton, who was secretary to Montagu, was according to gossip, also his mistress. The affair not being common knowledge, was only known by a handful of close friends.
Only a few of the original castings were made around 1911, and the figure was intriguingly called The Whisper.
Spirit Of Rolls Royce
After seeing the first figure, the Managing Director of Rolls Royce, Mr Claude Johnson, asked Sykes to design a mascot figure that would become the bonnet ornament of all future Rolls Royce cars.
His brief was to create an iconic symbol to convey the spirit of Rolls Royce. Charles Sykes continued to use Eleanor Thornton as his inspiration, creating the curvaceous and attractive cloth billowing figure.
Versions of the Spirit Of Ecstasy
The figure has had eleven designs, names and sizes, from The Whisper to it’s current name of Spirit Of Ecstasy.
Kneeling versions were created for smaller sports cars and the current version has a luxury anti-theft mechanism.
Today your Spirit Of Ecstasy can be in a range of materials including 24 carat gold, frosted crystal or black and studded with diamonds!.
Painting My Lost Spirit Of Ecstasy
Without her Spirit Of Ecstasy, this is my latest painting.
Using white Pastelmat as my surface which gives an instant texture to the painting, I paint a watercolour style wash of Indian Inks. Followed by stronger layers of colour, allowing the ink to move and blend on the surface.
For some detail I use Faber Castell Pitt Pens and soft pastels for the final textures.
I have been exploring this mixture of media for a few months now. See my art portfolio for examples.
I have tried to portray the effects of mother nature on these old abandoned classic motor cars.