10 February 2010

The Spirit of Ecstasy


Yesterday a Monte Carlo lady, today a Monte Carlo car - a Rolls Royce Corniche parked outside the Hôtel de Paris on Casino Square.

The famous Spirit of Ecstasy mascot you see on a Rolls Royce was the work of Charles Robinson Sykes. But who was his beautiful subject?

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, a pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of The Car magazine from 1902, had a secret love, Eleanor Velasco Thornton and she was the model for the emblem. Their love was to remain hidden for more than a decade. The reason for the secrecy was Eleanor's impoverished social and economic status, which was an obstacle to their love. Eventually Lord Montagu, succumbing to family pressures, married Lady Cecil Victoria Constance, but the secret love affair continued and Eleanore bore him a child. It seems Lady Montagu condoned the affair and even befriended Eleanor.

Eleanor died on 30 December 1915, going down with the SS Persia, when the ship was torpedoed off Crete by a German submarine. Eleanore had accompanied Lord Montagu on his journey to India, just four years after she had been immortalized as the Silver Lady. Lord Montagu survived, by clinging to an upturned life boat for 36 hours, Eleanor went down with the ship. Her body was never recovered.

Look out for Lord Attenborough's new film, due out next year and called The Silver Ghost, starring Christian Bale and based on this story. To read more detail about Eleanore and Lord Montague, click HERE.

9 comments:

Diederick Wijmans said...

I didn't know you changed your car?!

Sharon said...

This is a story I had never heard before. I'll have to watch for the movie.

maria said...

Very informative as usual, Jilly!

Leif Hagen said...

Interesting details about the Rolls Royce! A Rolls Royce and Monte Carlo - they go very well together! Just as I'd imagine...

Jacob said...

This gives new meaning to the phrase, conspicuous consumption! Beautiful, though.

And a fascinating story!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting story Jilly.

Secret lives are always interesting.

Like your's !

Hahahaahaha !

Luc/Montréal

Virginia said...

Jilly,
When I arrive in MC, this will pick me up?? HA
V

ALBERT MORELL said...

Dear Jilly,
love your close up pic of the RR-emily. I have also an original Spirit of Ecstasy mascot as paperweight on my table. Interesting story that is of the Lord and his mistress. Every day I see a Rolls-Royce is always a good day.
Kind regards Albert from Zurich Switzerland

ALBERT MORELL said...

Dear Jilly, enlightment again because of your beautyful closeup pic of the Emily figurine. I also have one Spirit of ecstasy mascote as a paperweight on my desk, its just a beautiful sculpture. Interesting story of Eleonore and the Lord M.
Wish I would have blue sky here too, but its still very
much snow by now.
Kind regards from Zurich,
Albert

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