The mascot was designed by artist and sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes, who described her as: “A graceful little goddess, the Spirit of Ecstasy, who has selected road travel as her supreme delight and alighted on the prow of a Rolls-Royce motor car to revel in the freshness of the air and the musical sound of her fluttering draperies. She is expressing her keen enjoyment, with arms outstretched and her sight fixed on the distance.”
The inspiration is said to have been Eleanor Thornton, mistress of Lord Montagu. Montagu asked Sykes to design the mascot for his RR Silver Ghost (he was apparently the first to adorn a car with a mascot, in 1896, a bronze figure of St Christopher, the patron saint of travellers).
The Whisper which resulted morphed into Spirit of Ecstasy.
In the collecting world, demand clearly exists for not just full-size Rolls-Royces but also the mascots.
A rare silver presentation Spirit of Ecstasy sold for 10 times its lower estimate at Colchester saleroom Reeman Dansie (20% buyer’s premium) on March 29.
Mounted on a burr walnut base with silver plaque engraved 1935-1985 50 years of outstanding service in selling Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars Roger Cra’ster from the Board of Vickers PLC, the 5½in (13.5cm) high mascot came in a burr walnut fitted case.
Described as overall in good order, it sold for £4000.
James Grinter of Reeman Dansie said: “It came from a deceased estate and was bought by a UK-based collector against online and phone bidders.
“It is a rare Rolls-Royce factory presentation solid silver mascot presented to Roger Cra’ster, one of the most famous and successful salesman in the history of the company.
“He liaised with the royal household for all the royal Rolls- Royces and at one time was the export sales manager. Its rarity and provenance certainly helped the final result – probably a record price for a RR mascot at auction.”