Portraying a Century

Portraying a Century


On 10 July 2019, Bentley reached its Centenary. As the official publishers of all three editions of the Bentley Centenary Book, Opus has been given exclusive access to the designers, engineers and visionaries shaping the future of the UK’s leading luxury car company.


A screenshot from the Bentley Motors webpage


A screenshot from the OPUS webpage


Designed, printed and hand-bound in England and limited to just 100 copies worldwide, the Mulliner Edition is the exceptional celebration of the Bentley centenary. Each copy of the Mulliner Edition will be individually numbered and personally signed by Adrian Hallmark, Bentley Motors Chairman and CEO.

Mulliner Edition

Highlights of the Mulliner edition include iconic giant 20in x 24in Polaroid Portraits to showcase 10 landmark Bentleys – the first time the world’s largest polaroid camera has been used to photograph automobiles - and a collection of 56 Bentley model watercolours commissioned exclusively for the Bentley Opus project and individually painted on silk paper.

This extraordinary challenge was handed over to Phillip Dutton-White, the master of the Royal Society of Artists and Designers, by the decision makers at the Bentley Crewe factory. It is his understanding of art that has earned him this supreme glory.

“Breathing life into art - Passion, creativity and versatility is instilled into my art via the tools of my trade. Life and the very souls of my subjects captured on canvas or paper as a tribute to their lives and their heroic achievements.” - Phillip Dutton-White

The following is a copy of the “Portraying a Century of Bentley Motors” from OPUS webpage.


Portraying a Century

It’s no easy matter to show 100 years of Bentley cars. Still harder to show them in context, in scale, and in a way that captures their essential qualities. It’s a task that’s as much about the spirit as it is about precision.

Phillip Dutton-White has the uncanny ability to make you feel as if you could step inside the image, open the car door and breathe in that unique blend of old-car engine and patinated leather. An artist rather than an illustrator, Dutton-White aims not only to capture the detail of an automobile but also a sense of the people who created it.

It’s a long and painstaking process. To start with, Phillip produces a sketch in pencil on tracing paper, using photographs or illustrations supplied by the design team at Crewe as reference.

Once Bentley has approved the initial pencil sketch, it is transferred onto the watercolour board. Phillip works by applying light watercolour washes to gradually build up the colour and start to bring out the reflections and lines of the car. It can take up to twelve washes to achieve the desired effect, and each layer has to dry before the next is applied. Finally, he brings out the highlights and details of each model using graphite, ink and pastels.

Phillip Dutton-White

Artist and designer Phillip Dutton-White a Master of the Royal Society of Artists & Designers, has created a compelling series of watercolour illustrations, showing the evolution of Bentley from the original 3 Litre to today’s Continental GT Convertible. Phillip’s portraits of a century of Bentley cars are both accurate and evocative; in his work, the light seems to caress the lines of each model. Bentley’s design team loves them.


 Phillip White with Bentley Centenary Book Phillip White with Bentley Centenary Book


The Bentley Watercolours

Bentley Watercolours List

1920 EXP 2
1923 3 Litre Vanden Plas
1924 3 Litre Le Mans Winner
1929 4 1/2 Litre Blower
1929 Speed 6 Drophead Coupé by H.J. Mulliner
1930 Speed Six Coupé by Gurney Nutting
1935 3 1/2 Litre Saloon by Park Ward
1936 4 1/2 Litre Aerofoil Coupé by Gurney Nutting
1936 4 1/4 Litre Concealed Drop Head Coupé by H.J. Mulliner
1937 4 1/4 Litre Saloon by Carlton
1937 Sedanca Coupé by Gurney Nutting
1938 Embiricos
1939 Corniche
1946 Mk VI
1947 Mark VI Drop Head Coupé by Park Ward
1952 R Type Continental
1955 S1
1956 S1 Continental Drop Head Coupé by Park Ward
1959 S2 Fixed Head Coupé by H.J. Mulliner
1963 S3 Continental by Mulliner Park Ward
1963 S3 Continental Flying Spur by H.J. Mulliner
1965 T-Type
1969 T-Type Coupé by Mulliner Park Ward
1971 Corniche
1985 Turbo R2 Long Wheel Base
1991 Continental R
1995 Azure
1996 Continental T
1997 Continental SC
1998 Arnage T
2002 Her Majesty The Queen’s State Limousine
2003 Continental GT
2003 EXP Speed 8
2005 Continental Flying Spur
2006 Azure
2007 Continental GT Convertible
2008 Brooklands
2010 Continental Supersports
2011 Mulsanne
2012 Continental GT Convertible
2013 Continental GT Speed
2014 Flying Spur
2014 Continental GT3
2015 Continental GT3R
2016 Bentayga
2016 EXP10 Speed 6 Concept
2017 Continental Supersports
2017 Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase
2018 Continental GT
2018 Continental GT3
2019 Continental GT Convertible

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