Words of my Father

By Catheryne Kelly

Life doesn’t come with an instruction book – that’s why we have fathers.” H. Jackson Browne. The father; an icon since the dawn of time, has been depicted across the arts over the centuries, yet still proves to be an elusive figure to define. In Words of my Father, we search through literature and culture in celebration of this most significant of figures, giving us a slight insight into what to gift them in honour of Father’s Day.


Photography & motion: karinberndl.com

Our focus rests on fathers who have paved the way across a great span of artistic mediums; whether these be actual or fictional figures. From pioneers in literature to mentors in architecture, from theorists in art to muses in music, these fathers have inspired countless creatives across the course of history and will, no doubt, continue to do so for generations to come.


Let’s start with one of the great fathers of literature; think Hamlet, The Tempest and Othello. Think high drama intermixed with subtle sensibility. Shakespeare is the father of modern English literature and is renowned for merging the classical with the radical.

You’ve probably heard on many occasions that Shakespeare was ‘ahead of his time’. Nothing could be more true. What seems to astound both readers and audience members today is that his works feel as fresh and as current as ever. Shakespeare knew exactly how to get in touch with human emotions; what is unbelievable is that his work is still able to do so four hundred years after his death.

Shakespeare’s works speak to us as the perfect blend of the current and the timeless, the pioneering and the traditional, the subtle, and the explosive. We see Shakespeare as a father to many successive generations of art, literature and creative thinking. 

How might we gift a Shakespeare-like character this father’s day? For a worldly and radical dad, what about a scent as inspiring as the man himself? May we suggest the wonderful fragrances by Escentric Molecules. Earlier this year, the truly unique brand presented the scents Escentric 05 and Molecule 05 as new additions to their collection.

Escentric Molecules focuses on a single synthetic molecule for each of its radical perfume collections; the molecule chosen for the o5 fragrances is Cashmeran. The Escentric 05 fragrance consists of 65% of this molecule, essences designed to enhance its scent make up what’s left. Find top notes of fig, bergamot and orange, with a heart of cypress and deconstructed florals enhancing the molecular base. This scent is warm and emotive.

More surprising, however, is the Molecules 05 scent. This is made from 100% Cashmeran. Alone this molecule smells unusually complex; it combines a cocooning, musky softness with dry, aromatic woodiness, and a sweet and resinous pine note.


As for our next wonderful father figure? Dubbed “the father of us all” by none other than Picasso, Paul Cézanne is renowned as the father of modern art. You may know him as the artist behind The Bathers masterpiece, for his avant-garde approach to the Post-Impressionist movement or simply for his vibrant colour palette. Yet in his theory as well as his practice, Cézanne’s role as as father figure goes much further than Picasso’s admiring words.  


In his work, Cézanne prioritised substance over style and endeavoured to create art that would remain unforgotten over time. “I wanted to make out of Impressionism something solid and lasting like the art of the museums,” maintains Cézanne in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne: A Memoir with Conversations. If you’ve ever taken a trip to the Musée D’Orsay in Paris, which houses work spanning his entire career, you’ll agree that he achieved this ambition.

Cézanne took on the role of mentor in his famous correspondence with his son and fellow creatives such as Emile Zola and Emile Bernard. Cézanne’s letters are extremely complex and his tone shifts from self-criticising and tormented to clearsighted and humorous. Particularly in the letters addressed to his son, he shares the theory behind his paintings. This theory can be seen to anticipate cubism.

Cézanne not only immortalised himself through his work and letters but through his active encouragement of the younger generation. Instead of standing as an untouchable figure above his successors, he chose to share his wisdom with a select few. In 1902 he wrote to his son: “A little confidence in yourself, and work. Never forget your art, sic itur ad astra” (thus one reaches the stars). Cézanne’s commitment to the continuity of his art and his paternal nurturing of fellow artists is truly worth celebrating this Father’s Day.

Should you want to pair a scent with Cézanne and his works for your artistic father, what better choice than Ambra by Acqua di Parma? Ambra features the rare and sensual notes of ambergris; its essence takes years to develop through natural forces of the ocean and the wind. This scent sunny, warm and paints a portrait of the great outdoors, much like Cézanne. Enjoy an artistic mélange of the aromatic head notes of orange and bergamot with a heart of rose, nagarmotha, cedarwood and patchouli to balance the base of ambergris, Sandalwood and Vanilla. It is unmistakably elegant.


Possibly the most-loved fictional father is Atticus Finch of Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird. We cannot help but be enamoured of Finch in this story told through the eyes of his daughter, Scout. Harper Lee transports us back to the innocence of childhood and resells us the lost belief that parents are ten feet-fall.

In the novel, Finch strives to prove the innocence of Tom Robinson, a black man who has been wrongly accused of raping a white woman in 1930s Alabama. Finch proves to be immovable under the pressure of being the target of bigotry. He is the epitome of tolerance and steadfastness.

As a single father in a time of adversity, he teaches his children to value kindness and honesty. He’s an example for us all to follow, parent or otherwise, particularly in the times in which we live today.  

For a father who stands up as a colossus amongst men, then a fragrance from Creed seems most appropriate. Creed’s cornerstone scent, Aventus seems perfectly fitting for such a man as Finch. This bold and contemporary scent has fruity top notes of Calville Blanc apple, blackcurrant, pineapple and Italian bergamot. At its heart are hints of floral jasmine blossom, birch, juniper berries and patchouli. Find at the base the elegant and masculine woody base notes of oakmoss.


While Guillermo Kahlo and his daughter, Frida did not share artistic mediums, he being a photographer and she a painter, it cannot be denied that the pair shared an interest in self-portraiture. A fan of Frieda’s art might notice her father’s influence on her self-reflective portraits, which make up roughly one-third of her works. Despite specialising in the photography of “landscapes, buildings, and interior,” her father oftentimes made himself and his daughter the subjects of his work. 


The exhibition; Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, launched at the V&A in June last year remarked how close the father-daughter pair were. Their unbreakable bond was unfortunately rooted in their shared experience of illness and disability. Frida was very open with the fact that she not only suffered from a debilitating streetcar accident at the age of eighteen but suffered from polio at six. In order for his daughter to overcome the physical and emotional trauma of her early life, Guillermo encouraged Frida to paint as an outlet of expression. In turn, Frida cared for her father during his epileptic fits.

Guillermo’s influence can be felt in many of Frida’s works. However, it is most plain to see in her painting, Portrait of my Father, 1941. It depicts her father poised alongside his creative instrument; his camera. The steely grey hue of his eyes match that of the camera’s lens. Captioned below him reads; “I painted my father Wilhelm Kahlo, of Hungarian-German origin, professional artist/photographer, whose nature was generous, intelligent, and polite. He was courageous, having suffered from epilepsy for sixty years, but he never stopped working and he fought against Hitler. Adoringly, his daughter Frida.” As a another nod to her father, Frida is photographed in the process of painting her father’s portrait. This symbolic moment, as captured, belongs to the private collection at Museo Frida Kahlo, Mexico city. 

In the spirit of this inseparable father-daughter pair, may we recommend the fragrance, Aqua Vitae by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. This fragrance embodies the colourful soul of Frida Khalo’s work, so deeply inspired by her father. Detect top notes of vibrant lemon and mandarin, a middle of hedione and guaiac wood and a base of vanilla and Brazilian tonka bean. It is delicate yet inherently powerful and inspired by the natural world.

In the world of architecture, Louis Sullivan is known as “the father of skyscrapers”. His work towered over a flourishing Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Sullivan broke tradition in his celebration of the height of his buildings, he was fearless in regard to the architectural challenge that building up, rather than across, brought.


Sullivan played with human emotions through the light, space and movement incorporated in his designs. He looked to nature for inspiration, which ensured that the theory for each of his buildings was rooted in organicism. He prioritised function and materials over form. Sullivan was a mentor and a key source of inspiration for his famous successor, Frank Lloyd Wright, known for his many iconic buildings such as Fallingwater and the Guggenheim Museum, New York. Their relationship is said to have been that of teacher and disciple until Wright took to taking personal work in secret. 

Atkinsons Oud Save The King would serve as the perfect gift for any king of the modern metropolis. Reminiscent of golden age glamour, this scent is infused with grey bergamot and iris at its top to enhance the richness of its oud base. Find at its heart the subtle hints of the finest suede and classic wood essences.

The legendary Jamaican singer, songwriter and musician, Bob Marley, known for such iconic hits as Is This Love, Buffalo Soldier and Jamming is celebrated today as a global figure in pop culture. Considered a powerful symbol of Jamaican music, culture and identity, his music has boundlessly contributed to both the reggae and rock genres.

Yet the legacy he created throughout his lifetime far exceeds his impact on the music world; it continues to expand through his clan of eleven acknowledged children. Some of which align themselves closely with the legacy in their own pursuit of music, while others have made their names in other vocations such as athleticism, fashion design and entrepreneurship.

Their father started making music as a teenager and it is at this time that he met his future wife, Rita, who was then a backing singer of his band. Bob married Rita when she was twenty one and the couple went on to have three children together. Though they stayed married until the end of Bob’s life, they both had other children outside the marriage. Bob was said to have adopted and cared for every child as his own.

Ziggy Marley, 45, led the Grammy-award winning group, The Melody Makers as a child and is now a solo artist. He admits that his father instilled within him a sense of musicianship and discipline. He recognises his father’s revolutionary, spiritual prophetic sides as influences on his own music. Alternatively, Rohan Marley, 41, semi-professional footballer and founder of Marley Coffee, feels the impact of his father in a different way; he reflects upon his father’s strength, his philanthropy and the way in which he continually demanded respect.

What we can assume from the accounts of his children over the years is that Bob Marley was an extremely loved and admired man within a very united family, which is dedicated to prolonging his legacy for generations to come.

What would we gift a figure so universally loved as Bob Marley? May we suggest Palazzo Nobile Casanova 2161 from La Maison Valmont. Casanova is a fearless fragrance that embodies light and passion. Top notes include spicy juniper berries and at its middle lies iris and powdery violet. Smokey vetiver root sits at its base. 1261 is timeless and charismatic.

Maybe Words of my Father has inspired you to treat your dad but because not every father is a fragrance fanatic, here are some further ideas on how to treat yours this Father’s Day…

For the foody father: The Fancy AF Burger Box from Wolf & Lamb, available to deliver to anywhere in London within the M25.

This burger set comes with everything you need to create four mouthwatering burgers. Complete with seeded brioche buns, red onion chutney and béarnaise sauce, this set should make BBQ nights into a much more refined affair.

For the fashionable father: A pair of timeless Calvin Klein Sunglasses, available to order online.

What if he is a bit of a tech lover? then a simple power station may be right up his street? The powerstation mini is a sleekly designed Fabric covered slim power charger for mobile phones. The new mophie powerstation universal battery is a 5,000mAh portable battery packed with more power than ever. It has two additional charges on a smartphone which allows for charging multiple devices in line go. It can also be used at the same time as empowering the base so a very handy item. Available in the UK from Zagg

Provide him with the perfect finishing touch to any ensemble. These modern, one hundred percent UV protected, lightweight yet durable sunglasses give an effortless look that will never go out of style. They’re the ultimate accessory for any sophisticated gentleman.

Calvin Klein Round Sunglasses CK20701S in colour ‘dark tortoise’.

For the amateur bartender: Nine Lives baller canned cocktail collection, available in packs of six or twelve. These sustainable canned cocktails can be delivered to all SE1 addresses. Otherwise, collection is available. 

The bartenders at Nine Lives in London Bridge have created four ready-mixed baller cocktails, canned in-house at the bar. Choose from Johnnie Walker Black Label whiskey, lemongrass, fresh apple & sauvignon blanc; pomegranate-infused Ketal One, lemon & sumac cordial with soda and Tanqueray London dry gin, blackberry jam, rosemary & Nine Lives limoncello.

Left to right Baller Four and Baller One canned cocktails, Nine Lives baller canned cocktail collection.

For the dad who loves a quality tipple: The Cocktail Porter, available in The Petite Kit (6 serves) and The Porter Kit ( 17-20 serves). Delivered directly to your dad’s door anywhere in the UK.

Complete with premium bottles of spirits, artisanal infusions, hand-crafted cordials, home-grown garnishes, and infused tonics, this premium cocktail kit is curated by leading bartenders and includes a limited edition Father’s Day cocktail gift inside. Each kit contains individual recipes for your budding bartender to stir and shake the perfect cocktail at home. Choose from five boxes including the Whiskey Highball Collection or Seville Orange Negroni. delivered directly to your dad’s door anywhere in the UK.

Or why not go for a single bottle of something special?

This award-winning, full-bodied, single malt Scottish Whiskey showcases subtle flavours of wood and vanilla, with a spicy fruit and smoky aftertaste. Sweet blackcurrant fruitiness is finished in deep charred oak. The aromas and flavours work in harmony together to create an exceptional finish. Available to order online.

Glen Scotia Victoriana single malt scotch whiskey, just one of the exceptional Lochlomond Whiskies.

To top it off, why not pair the whiskey with a set of elegant glasses? Adorned with monochromatic eyes and lips in the famous Fornasetti style, this addition makes for a longer-lasting gift, and one that oozes domestic sophistication.

Set of six Fornasetti shot glasses.

For an injection of tech into his everyday: An ISSA 2 toothbrush. Available to order online.

Put a smile on his face with the innovative ISSA 2 by Swedish skin tech brand FOREO. The sleek, waterproof design of ISSA 2 is enhanced with sonic-pulse technology and a combination brush head. This state-of-the-art toothbrush lasts full 365 days on a full charge. What’s more, the ISSA 2 was featured on Star Trek Discovery (episode 5) , so if he’s a Trekkie and a gadget lover, this toothbrush is the perfect choice for him.

ISSA 2 toothbrush by FOREO in black.

For the dad who loves to travel: Acqua di Parma Colonia gift set. Available to order online.

This chic and hands-on kit contains a set of products to transport you to Italy from the comfort of your own home. Gift him with a Colonia Eau de Cologne (100ml) in its iconic Art Deco bottle and a Colonia Bath and Shower Gel (75ml) presented in a vibrant yellow travel pouch to match the citrusy scent. The set comes in a special sleeve decorated with a crossword that highlights the word ‘Dad’ in different languages to remind him of all those great times abroad.

Acqua di Parma Colonia gift set, available to order online.

For the storyteller: A pen by Caran d’Ache x Paul Smith. Available to order online.

This colourful collaboration between Paul Smith and Caran d’Ache is ideal for any incessant scribbler. This limited edition collection features a range of statement shades, all adorned with the signature of the legendary designer. Watch an everyday object transform into an item of luxury!

The colourful collection, Caran d’Ache x Paul Smith.

For the music man: Brionvega Radio Cubo. Available to order online.

This stylish, compact, Italian-made radio is the perfect accompaniment for the coming summer months at home. With expert sound quality and a modern design, he’ll be able to turn the back yard into a beer garden.

Brionvega Radio Cubo, red.

This Father’s Day, may your choice of gift be as inspired and as creative as the father you cherish in your life.

If you enjoyed Words of my Father then why not read Slightly Built

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