I believe that family is integral to the experience of war.

Like other soldiers, George Stephen Cantlie had two families – his family at home and his regimental family. Cantlie led his regimental family, the Black Watch of Montreal, overseas and into battle at Mount Sorrel and the Somme. A member of the militia from age fourteen, he embodied Montreal’s Scottish heritage and military tradition. To his wife and five children he sent home a stream of letters. For his youngest, “Wee Celia,” each surviving word and flower is a poignant reminder of his thoughts in time of war.

– Viveka Melki


Press on the pictures below to show content:


Optical crystal

“Three roses intertwine to represent family, and the contrast of war vs home, night and day, 3 letters float on a cloud.”
– Mark Raynes Roberts


Olfactory memory

“Dreams of family home at bath time. A crackling wood fire sharpens notes of leather that emerge from the stable.”
– Alexandra Bachand


George Stephen Cantlie (1867-1956)

“George Stephen Cantlie is the central figure in this exhibition. His letters to his youngest daughter Celia provide the inspiration for WAR Flowers.”
– Alexander Reford

Read more

Cantlie’s Letter