- The Phantom Rose was commissioned by Rolls-Royce.
- It took eight years for British rose breeder Philip Harkness to develop this unique flower.
- The rose served as inspiration in Bespoke Rolls-Royce Phantom sedans.
Obviously, the automobile is first and foremost a means of transportation, but it can also be means other things, such as a true work of art. Rolls-Royce and its Bespoke commission seeks to take that aspect to unprecedented levels, and has recently integrated a new element into its custom designs: the Phantom Rose.
This rare flower grows at the Home of Rolls-Royce in West Sussex, and nowhere else in the world. The Phantom Rose flourishes in a specially designed bed that’s fringed with lavender, alongside the reflection ponds next to the brand’s factory.
The Phantom Rose is the creation of British Rose breeder Philip Harkness, whose family has been tending this type of flower since 1879. In fact, Harkness Roses has won gold more than 25 times at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in the past 50 years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the first time that this event will be held online.
Rolls-Royce commissioned the rose, which is a “blousy, creamy-white flower, offering a full bloom of 50 petals and a rich perfume.” According to Harkness, it took him eight years to develop the Phantom Rose, which was a labour of love. “A rose has the ability to captivate you on many levels. It is a thing of beauty, it can stimulate the senses with wonderful perfume, the soft touch of the petals or the rasping pain from a thorn. It touches our emotions, signifies love and appears in some of our finest poetry.”
Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke commission first used an iteration of the rose to design a Phantom Gallery—a full-width dashboard glass panel, in front of a backlit recess in which buyers can “embrace the unique storytelling characteristic of the marque.” Stems of the rose were sent to the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory, and the budding flower served as inspiration for creating a Gallery made of the finest black and white porcelain. The process took three months.
More recently, a wealthy Swedish entrepreneur with a passion for flowers acquired a Rolls-Royce Phantom, which features an amazing collection of embroidery with over a million stitches inspired by the Phantom Rose. “There is a transcendent beauty when a rose garden is in full bloom,” said RR Bespoke designer Ieuan Hatherall. “The commissioning patron wanted to create that same feeling of awe; an abundance of flowers to lift the spirit and celebrate nature’s decadent beauty.”
We’ll let the images speak for themselves.