Matchbox Labels

Reviewed: October 29, 2004
By: Jane Smith / captions by Natasha Lomas
Publisher: Firefly Books
400 pages, $29.95

For brief mention this week I've chosen Matchbox Labels, a book which exactly what its title implies, a bound gallery of some 2000 examples of an art form which many of us take for granted. According to the text some people collect matchboxes the way that others collect stamps, and they have been used for much the same purpose in many parts of the world. Far from just holding and marketing a useful product, these little boxes are tools for memorials and propaganda the world over.

The book is organized in thematic two-page spreads, each devoted to a particular type of work, mostly composed of sample pictures and captioned in English, French and Spanish.