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As a co-founder of the Euston Road School, Coldstream favoured a practice of painting based on acute observation. In 1943 he was appointed as an Official War Artist. After working in North Africa he requested permission to paint in Italy and arrived in Capua, Italy in May 1944. This picture of the Reception Station was completed five months later, after about seventy-five sittings in front of the subject. Coldstream positioned himself on the roof of a half-finished block of flats in front of the view, so that he would not be seen or disturbed. He later suggested that he had been more interested in depicting the architecture in sunlight than recording a military scene.

September 2004