Rolls-Royce Motor Cars launched its second film that explores its origin myths and is narrated by no less than Kate Winslet. Under the banner “House of Rolls-Royce Presents…” the film is about the Spirit of Ecstasy statue that’s sat on the prow of every Rolls-Royce since 1911.
The last of the current Phantoms – which relaunched Rolls-Royce under BMW ownership and at a new, purpose-built HQ at Goodwood, in Sussex in 2003 – are under construction and all will be finished and delivered by Christmas.
“House of…” then is less about “better than” and all about “different from”. And what better way to begin that separation with an exploration of the obsessives Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce and their passionate exploration of science, art, engineering and how the sense of “ecstasy” evolved.
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That feeling from driving fast, beautiful automobiles found physical form in Charles Sykes’ sculpture of English actress Eleanor Thornton, secretary and lover to John Montagu (later the first Lord Montagu of Beaulieu). But I’ll let Kate Winslet – who has a home just a few miles from Goodwood – tell you the story.
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