Trench Art


Pair of English World War One Trench Art Brass & Oak Matchbox Holders (LEO Design)


The term "trench art" is used to refer to the folk crafts fashioned of (or partially fashioned of) the used or spare materials of warfare.  This art form was especially popular during and after World War One.  Trench art was made by all the major WWI participants: England, France, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Australia and the United States.

But very little trench art actually was made "in the trenches"—or even on the front lines, for that matter.  Much of it would have been made away from the battlefield, for example, at training camps or other military posts.  Some might have been made in hospitals by recuperating soldiers.  And some may have been made back at home—by soldiers awaiting call-up.  Even after the war, the craft remained popular (and, possibly, profitable).

Shown here, a pair of matchbox holders, fashioned from the brass of artillery shell casings, mounted to a diamond-form oak lozenge.  Each is fitted with a brass hanging ring, allowing them to be hung in a convenient place, where one might need a match: in the kitchen, in the bathroom, or next to the fireplace.  Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome pair of matchbox holders.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248