Strictly speaking, trench art is a phrase that describes folk art created by soldiers who were stuck in the trenches during World War I. But trench art as a more broadly defined genre includes all sorts of art objects made during numerous military conflicts going back to the early 1800s, including items produced by prisoners of war.
Leaving aside the question of era, there are several generally accepted categories of trench art. Some of the earliest examples are wooden boxes made by French prisoners captured by the English during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815).
By World War I, prisoners on both sides of that struggle were engraving and carving everything from spent shell casings to soup bones, transforming them into poignant mementos an...
Those soldiers who did not have the time or tools to engrave spent artillery shells in the trenches often brought them home, where they would be embossed, fluted, and flared. Engravings on canteens and mess kits were probably done in the field, as were paintings on helmets.
Other examples of trench art include letter openers and knives made from bullets and shells; presentation plates hammered and engraved from flattened casings; lighters formed out of enemy belt buckles; and inkwells carefully crafted from fuse caps.
Soldiers recovering from their wounds also made trench art, usually in the form of embroidered badges and belts. Similar pieces made by wives and girlfriends waiting for their loved ones to return home are also considered trench art.
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'Mother lode of estate sales' at Simon home in Morristown, May 16-18Morristown Green, May 14th
Richard Simon, a World War II veteran now living close to his family in Vermont, collected everything from George Washington statues and miniature cannons to furniture, antique tools and “trench art” carved onto artillery shells by World War I soldiers...Read more
Nottinghamshire County Council need your First World War artefacts for new ...Mansfield Chad, May 12th
First World War objects such as trench art, photographs, diaries, letters or memorabilia are being sought whether they relate to the Home Front or the theatres of War. This will help with the research for the exhibition and people may be asked to lend...Read more
Nottingham Castle Museum looking for WW1 artifacts for 2014 centenary exhibitionThis is Nottingham, May 5th
Curators are looking for World War I objects such as trench art, photographs, diaries, letters or memorabilia relating to the Home Front or the theatres of War. Nottinghamshire County Council archives manager Mark Dorrington said: “We hope people will...Read more
Military display to open soonWarwick Daily News, May 3rd
Showcased are uniforms, hats, badges, medals, trench art, guns and even telegrams soldiers sent home while serving overseas. Mr Kelly said they were still waiting on more display cabinets to arrive in which to assemble the last bits and pieces. "Most...Read more