Spirit of Ecstasy

Life is full of unexpected coincidences. Last week Ken Bello (2clicksaway) posted an image of the hood (bonnet) ornament of a classic Packard car. Click here to go to that post and view the ornament shot superbly by Ken.

I commented on Ken’s post, writing: ‘That ornament rivals the Spirit of Ecstasy on Rolls Royces for beauty.’ Little did I imagine that later that same day I would be looking at a vintage Rolls Royce and photographing the Spirit of Ecstasy on its bonnet. In the USA the ornament is often called The Flying Lady.

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Both ornaments feature female figures stretching forwards, but the artistry is different. The Rolls Royce figure having classic lines, the Packard ornament reminding me more of the Art Deco era. Indisputably they both have an individual beauty. But which do we prefer? Beauty, it is said, is in the eye of the beholder. We will all have a preference. Some from the UK may even regard it as heresy to suggest the two figures are in any way comparable.

For those wanting to know more about the history of the Spirit of Ecstasy, click here to view an interesting article in Wikipedia.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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12 Responses to Spirit of Ecstasy

  1. oneowner says:

    We don’t see many Rolls around here so I had to look up the Spirit. The Packard was not in the same league as the Rolls but it wasn’t intended to be. They are both beautiful and folks who appreciate classic cars will love both of them. I think the
    Packard tried to look a little like the Rolls, too.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken. I agree, I think I’m right in assuming that the Spirit preceded the Packard ornament. The Spirit was designed in 1911. I don’t know the date of the Packard ornament but certainly to my eye it looks 1930s (which is the Art Deco period). They both suggest a ship’s figurehead by the way they lean forward as if into the wind as the car cleaves the air.

  2. Nelson says:

    It’s interesting how those ornament have become so recognizable even today

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Nelson. I wasn’t familiar with the Packard ornament until I saw Ken’s image, but the Spirit is so recognizable for many reasons – and of course it’s had just over 100 years to become well known.

  3. Both of these vehicles are outstanding in their own right but designed for different consumers. I like both ornaments for different reasons. I think the Packard has a sleekness that I prefer over the Rolls, but for sheer elegance, it’s the Rolls Royce hands down.

    I like how you captured the mirror-image reflection, Andy. That Rolls grille has been tried on everything from a Volkswagen to Chrysler 300’s to, well… the Rolls Royce itself. 🙂

    Nice work from both you and Ken.

    Now talk about coincidence, I have a 54 Packard image going up on the blog. Must be old car week or something. 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Jimi. Sleek was the word I was searching for to describe the Packard ornament. I don’t think the WordPress reader has been picking up your posts recently. I’ll get over to your blog before the end of the week and check out the Packard post.

  4. Love these older hood ornaments, such class

  5. The hood ornament of the Spirit of Ecstasy is really beautiful. And you captured it beautifully in this image. I love the reflection in the chrome of the hood.

  6. poppytump says:

    I hadn’t seen the Packard design before but think it is wonderful in it’s Art Deco style … but well .. the RR Spirit Of Ecstasy is such a classic as you say Andy . Such a lovely photo !

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