Casualty reception station, Capua: Sir William Coldstream, war artist

Discussion in 'General' started by dbf, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Sir William Coldstream | Artists | Collection | British Council − Visual Arts
    "During the war Coldstream was appointed an Official War Artist in the Middle East and Italy. In Egypt he had a studio close to the Pyramids and spent most of his time painting portraits of Indian soldiers. In Italy he was based in Capua and Rimini where his focus turned to recording damaged buildings and encampment. After being de-mobbed he took on a teaching job at Camberwell School of Art, where he was later appointed Head of Painting...

    He exhibited widely in his life time and in 1990 the Tate mounted a major retrospective."

    ‘Casualty Reception Station, Capua’, Sir William Coldstream, 1944 | Tate
    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.

    Casualty Reception Station, Capua.png
  2. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    To me it looks like he would have used one of the former POW barracks or RE Barracks to paint from. The view is, in my opinion from the POW camp across the open ground to the city of Capua to the north.
    I think he also painted this at Capua. The Royal Engineers School of Military Engineering established a bridging school on the site of POW camp PG66 at Capua in late 1943.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
    Guy Hudson, dbf and Owen like this.
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Coldstream, William Menzies (Oral history)
    Object description: British gunner served with 5th Field Training Regt, Royal Artillery at Dover, GB, 1940; officer served as camouflage officer with Camouflage Command at Farnham and Bristol in GB, 1940-1943; official war artist in GB, Egypt and Italy, 1943-1945

    Content description:
    REEL 1 Reflections on period as artist in GB prior to 1940: attitude towards First World War official war artist work; founding of Euston Road Art School. Aspects of enlistment and training with 5th Field Training Regt, Royal Artillery in GB, 1940: decision to enlist in British Army, 6/1940; posting to regiment; posting as camouflage officer with Royal Artillery to Barnard Castle. Aspects of appointment as official war artist in GB, 1943: background to appointment, 1943; degree of knowledge of War Artist Advisory Committee; work; reaction to appointment. Aspects of period as gunner with 5th Field Training Regt, Royal Artillery in Dover, GB, 1940: attitude towards army life; relations with unit members. Aspects of period as camouflage officer with Camouflage Command in Farnham and Bristol in GB, 1940-1943: joining command at Farnham; work camouflaging heavy anti-aircraft gun sites at Bristol. Aspects of period as official war artist in GB and Egypt, 1943-1944: painting General Wilheim Ritter von Thoma at Trent Park in GB, 1943; his portrait paining technique; journey from GB to Cairo, Egypt via Algiers, Algeria, 7/1943; painting Indian troops at 11 Indian Reinforcement Camp in Egypt.

    REEL 2 Continues: Aspects of period as official war artist in Italy, 1944-1945: journey from Egypt to Capua; situation in Italy, early 1944; subjects painted in Capua; visit to Pisa; painting in Rimini; looting of works of art in Germans; meetings with artists Edward Ardizzone and Edward Bawden. Reflections of period as artist and official war artist: relations with War Artist Advisory Committee after war; lack of interest in war art; opinion of own paintings; work with GPO Film Unit during 1930s; making films; reasons for returning to painting.

    REEL 3 Continues: relations with Italian civilians; comparison between landscape colours in Italy and GB; opinion that war had changed London; effects of war on English art; painting in Italy and Egypt.


Share This Page