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Trench Art

One of the most recognizable artifacts of the Great War are trench art. Popular media for artists were the commonplace items all around them in the trenches – spent shells, canteens, military equipment re-imagined, etc. Most of the artists were typical soldiers, although many were also professionals tradesmen who created when they weren’t doing their jobs on the Front.

Trench Art Glossary

This glossary provides definitions to the many techniques used by the artists. Our source was “Trench Art: An Illustrated History” by Jane A. Kimball (Silverpenny Press, Davis, CA., Copyright 2004)

Shells & Shrapnel –

Artists used the many spent shells littering the battlefields to create unique pieces. Each of these categories contains the many styles and variations the artists employed.

  • Cigarette Bullet Lighter & Matchbox

    Cigarette Bullet Lighter & Matchbox


Wooden –

A large variety of wooden trench art is featured in the collection. Quite a number of the art was created by Prisoners of war, but some pieces were created by artists on the front, using whatever they could find.

Trench Art – Miscellaneous

Below are the types of trench art in the collection that are not featured in the Shells & Shrapnel or Wooden categories. There are items that were part of a soldier’s equipment, spent shells that were completely modified into clocks or desk items and there are some pottery artifacts as well.







Arts of the Great War Collection