Eleanor Thornton

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Eleanor Thornton

Eleanor Velasco Thornton (1880 – 30 December 1915) was an English actress and artist's model.

Thornton was born in Stockwell and left school at 16. At 22 she was the secretary of John Edward Scott-Montagu, who became the second Baron Montagu of Beaulieu in 1905. She became his mistress and they had an illegitimate daughter that she gave up for adoption. Thornton posed for sculptor Charles Sykes and was the model for his Spirit of Ecstasy, which is used as the bonnet/hood ornament on cars manufactured by Rolls-Royce, as well as a precursor sculpture, The Whisperer.

She was drowned with hundreds of other passengers on 30 December 1915 when the SS Persia, on which she was travelling with Montagu through the Mediterranean on the way to India, was torpedoed without warning by the German U-boat U-38, commanded by Max Valentiner. Montagu survived the sinking.

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