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Celebrating the Spirit of Ecstasy's centenary

Mon, 16 May 2011

In a bumper year of anniversaries for automotive manufacturers, Rolls-Royce is celebrating the centenary of the Spirit of Ecstasy. Quite possibly the world’s most famous automotive icon, the flying lady will be honored by renowned photographer Rankin through 100 images inspired by the figurine.

Just as Charles Robinson Sykes – the man behind the original figurine – turned to his wife for the form of the Ecstasy, Rankin is using wife and model Tuuli Shipster for his work.

Spirit of Ecstasy #1 launches a commission that sees Rankin creating a modern and personal interpretation of the Spirit of Ecstasy. Featuring Shipster in silhouette, draped in flowing fabric, the image has undeniable resonance with the Flying Lady. Rolls-Royce says that the image also ‘echoes the qualities which inspired Sykes 100 years ago, whilst capturing the mystery within which she is shrouded’.  

"This is one of the biggest projects I have ever taken on," Rankin said of the commission. "The images will be a statement about the modern day Rolls-Royce; they will feel fresh, directional and original, while also being beautiful and inspirational."

The Rankin: Spirit of Ecstasy collection is set to ‘evolve organically’ over the coming months, incorporating themes synonymous with the Rolls-Royce brand. The collection is also set to tour throughout 2011, with portraits being presented at a range of events across the world. In addition, Rolls-Royce owners and guests will be invited to a series of exclusive private views at the presigious automaker's showrooms in the months ahead, starting at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars London on 10 May.

For more information on this unique photographic collection and the locations where it will be presented over the coming months, visit

By John O'Brien