Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Trench Art Collection

Model military cap PRM 1999.45.2
© Pitt Rivers Museum
This year is the start of the First World War Centenary, which seems an opportune moment to show you this collection of objects made from artillery shells and bullet casings.
Letter opener PRM 1999.45.3
© Pitt Rivers Museum

Professor Nicholas Saunders, a trench art specialist, purchased these for the Museum in 1999.

Part of the collection is on permanent display. If you visit the Museum, look at the 'Recycling' display on the first floor and the '20th Century Firearms' on the top floor. If you visit on a Wednesday afternoon, up to the 12th November,  you could join the free First World War tour, which starts at 3.15.

Ashtray PRM 1999.45.1
© Pitt Rivers Museum
Model coal scuttle PRM 1999.45.4
and vases PRM 1999.45.7 and
PRM 1999.45.8 © Pitt Rivers Museum
You can also explore this collection online using the Museum object database. Where you are asked for an accession number, enter '1999.45.', which is the museum identification number for this collection.

Or to discover the wide variety of objects in the Museum collection made from recycled bullets, select 'bullet' from keywords and 'recycled' for process, then search. Simply click on the individual records to see the full details about each one.

Vases left to right: PRM 1999.45.6,
PRM 1999.45.9, PRM 1999.45.10
© Pitt Rivers Museum

I encourage you to take the time to explore these interesting objects. I really like the way these show the creativity of human beings in taking something designed to cause destruction and transforming it into something decorative.
Vase PRM 1999.45.5
© Pitt Rivers Museum

Zena McGreevy
Senior Assistant Curator

If you are interested in reading more about trench art see:

Kimball, Jane A. (2004), Trench Art: An Illustrated History, Silverpenny Press.
Sanders, Nicolas J. (2003), Trench Art: Materialities and Memories of War, Oxford: Berg.
Sanders, Nicolas J. (2002), Trench Art, Princes Risborough: Shire.
Sanders, Nicolas J. (2001), Trench Art: A Brief History and Guide, 1914-1939, London: Leo Cooper. 

Part of this collection was included in the temporary exhibition Transformations: The Art of RecyclingHeld at the Museum from 2000 until 2002 this celebrated the human creativity in recycling and re-using objects.

No comments:

Post a Comment