Original British WWI Trench Art Artillery Shell Brass & Copper Miniature Officer's Visor Cap

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a fantastic piece of World War One Trench Art! This is a lovely brass and copper scaled down British WWI Officer's peaked cap, made from an artillery shell measuring approximately 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Attached to the front is a small British WW1 button, over a copper "chinstrap" with brass buckles, with smaller buttons at the ends. It has a lovely light aged patina and is very attractive. We surmise that it was used as an ashtray.

The original stamps are still partly visible on the bottom of the shell, however not enough is visible to positively identify it.

Overall a really nice eye appealing piece of Great War Trench Art!

Trench art is any decorative item made by soldiers, prisoners of war, or civilians where the manufacture is directly linked to armed conflict or its consequences. It offers an insight not only to their feelings and emotions about the war, but also their surroundings and the materials they had available to them.

Not limited to the World Wars, the history of trench art spans conflicts from the Napoleonic Wars to the present day. Although the practice flourished during World War I, the term 'trench art' is also used to describe souvenirs manufactured by service personnel during World War II. Some items manufactured by soldiers, prisoners of war or civilians during earlier conflicts have been retrospectively described as trench art. There is much evidence to prove that some trench art was made in the trenches, by soldiers, during war.

In With a Machine Gun to Cambrai, George Coppard tells of pressing his uniform buttons into the clay floor of his trench, then pouring molten lead from shrapnel into the impressions to cast replicas of the regimental crest. Chalk carvings were also popular, with contemporary postcards showing carvings in the rocky outcrops of dug-outs. Many smaller items such as rings and knives were made by soldiers either in front line or support trenches, especially in quieter parts of the line.

Wounded soldiers were encouraged to work at crafts as part of their recuperation, with embroidery and simple forms of woodwork being common. Again from With a Machine Gun to Cambrai, George Coppard recalls that, while recuperating from wounds at a private house in Birkenhead, "one kind old lady brought a supply of coloured silks and canvas and instructed us in the art of embroidery. A sampler which I produced under her guidance so pleased her that she had it framed for me."

An example of therapeutic embroidery during World War I is the work of British military in Egypt, who were photographed sewing and embroidering for Syrian refugees. There was also the Bradford Khaki Handicrafts Club, which was funded in Bradford, UK, in 1918, to provide occupational therapy and employment for men returning from the trenches in France.

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