trench art


Empty shell casings remained the property of the government who paid for its production.  As a result, despite the thousands of shell casings abandoned during and after the war, techincally any trench art fashioned from it and identified by the maker would be tangible proof of theft.  As a result, the vast majority of trench art is unsigned.

In this section I am setting up the first catalogue of trench art artists.  This begins with the signed items from my collection, but I am hoping other collectors will be able to provide photographs of the work of other artists.  If we can produce a definitive catalogue, then, in the future we may even be able to start describing unsigned trench art as "in the style of XYZ...", in the way the art world can for unsigned paintings...

A distinction must be made between items made and signed by someone and items dedicated to a named person, but probably made by someone else...  This catalogue is just for the artists who made the pieces.

Also, where pieces can be firmly attributed to a retail outlet, such as the Souvenir Shop, then I have listed these as 'by' the outlet.

This will only really work if it is a collaborative effort.  If you have signed pieces, please take a photo of the piece and a close up photo of the signature and send them to me so I can update the catalogue.  Photos will be attributed, and remain your copyright.

The Trench Art Artist Catalogue 2018

BRIL, A Nicely embossed with cherries curling through a pergola around the top.  Signature dated January 1918. trench artist bril signature bril trench art
BROUCK, P (D?) Nicely embossed with flowers and butterfly. Brouck trench art brouck trench art shell
CARLIER, E Set of large paper knives, cast in brass, with soldiers from different nations, signed on reverse.  Carlier was a sculptor, who also produced a bronze statue of a French soldier entitled "On Ne Passe Pas" in 1916. carlier trench art carlier trench art knives
CB Initials only
Very well made, superbly sculpted and highly detailed embossed flower design.  Marked Alsace 1918, so likely to come from that region.
CHARLON, V Very nicely etched artwork, some darkening to the background to make the design stand out.  Marked for Rouvroy, Somme, with images of German bi-plane. charlon trench art charlon trench art
CHAUY, R Nicely made tobacco jar with leaves and butterflies, very detailed. chauy trench art chauy trench art
DEZZITER, RICHARD Plain shell case with detailed lead model of flowers and leaves encasing the shell made from melted down shrapnel balls.  A photo of Dezziter and further information is contained in Saunders' book, 'Trench Art'. No signature, attribution based on design.
FRAICHE, G Nicely sculpted case, decoratively cut out rim, embossed head and shoulders image of Joan of Arc in armour on one side, embossed Reims town crest on the reverse and marked as made Jan 1918. fraiche trench art fraiche trench art
GUSTO Embossed regimental crest of the French 114th Artillerie Louis regiment, decoratively cut out rim. gusto trench art gusto trench art
HAMEL Common flowers design, also did designs with herons amongst reeds.  A more prolific artist, I have several shell cases decorated by this person. hamel trench art hamel trench art
JACOBI, A Unusually waisted shell, with embossed decoration of flowers. Jacobi trench art signature jacobi trench art shell
JALIAN, E Nicely embossed with stork in bullrushes and cartouche with 'Dixmude'. Jahan signature Jahan Trench Art Shell
LAIR, G Average quality embossed motif of leaves, marked for Aisne 1917. lair trench art lair trench art
LEMINEUR, J Nice quality embossed image of a Belgian lion and a German eagle, one of a pair. lemineur trench art lemineur trench art
MAGRON, J Sculpted and embossed shell with image of two cherubs (?) by a camp fire, one holding a bundle of sticks. Magron trench art Magron trench art
MAMEY Busy, etched pictorial shell, with 'Souvenir de Lorraine' and a scene with duck pond, women in traditional Lorraine costume, decoratively cut out rim. mamey trench art mamey trench art
MARTIN, L Lovely pair of shells, one with very well executed lion attacking a German soldier, 'A La Gorge', the other with French cockerell standing on a pickelhaube, 'Halte La'.  On the bases is etched 'L Martin, un soldat Francais en Italie, 10 June 1918' L Martin trench art L Martin trench art shell case
NG Initials only
Plain shell with pewter overlay, embossed with stylised butterflies and pale blue cabochon stones.
PALAIKA, EGRN Nicely etched design of lions rampant.  Greek artist, and not sure if the first name is right! palaika trench art palaika trench art
PANSINI, A Stunning embossed image of the castle at Gorizia in Italy, with heraldic motifs above. pansini trench art pansini trench art
PEETERS, C Beautifully sculpted and embossed clock garniture (clock only shown) with shell cases sculpted as trees with snake winding around.  Garnitures are larger versions of the trees. Peeters trench art signature Peeters trench art clock
PETROCHILOS, C Nice shell case, with stamped info on base, made by Private Petrochilos for Lt C B Martin, AEF. 
Images courtesy John Ford Collection.
Petrochilos trench art signature Petrochilos trench art shell
ROUMENS, E Nicely, but sparsely, embossed with flower garlands, dated 1919. roumens trench art roumens trench art
PROVINS, L Artist based in Ath, just north of Mons, pair of very nicely embossed shells, with one showing the Wallonia cockerel and 'Wallonia Forever', with other with Belgium's lion. L Provins Trench Art Provins trench art
SITOLEUX, R Very nicely detailed flowers on 37mm shell case. sitoleux trench art sitoleux trench art
Excellently embossed design, marked for Verdun.  No artist signature, but accompanied by advertising card for the shop in Verdun where it was purchased, run by Henri Sommer. henri sommer trench art henri sommer trench art
The Souvenir Shop, Paris had several artisans working for it, producing trench art for retail sale.  Some examples are stamped with the SS logo, but not all, but all have a regular stamped design for the place (Reims on all these examples), with the stylised sprigs with berries on.
I highlight four different examples of their output, by probably three different artists.
souvenir shop logo trench art souvenir shop trench artsouvenir ship trench artsouvenir shop trench artsouvenir shop trench art
VAILLY Basic embossed design of ivy leaves. vailly trench art vailly trench art
VILLAREIM, J Nicely etched tobacco jar. Villareim trench art signature Villareim trench art tobacco jar
XIS, A Average embossed design of leaves, with 'Dixmude' legend across it.  Signature stylised, so not clear what the first letter of surname is... xis trench art xis trench art