Blunt, Anthony, 1907-1983

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Born, 1907; educated at Marlborough College; studied mathematics and modern languages at Trinity College Cambridge, forming close friendships with Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, H A R 'Kim' Philby; Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge, 1932-1937; invited to lecture at the Courtauld Institute by the director, W G Constable, on submission of his MA thesis, 1932; joined the staff of the Warburg Institute, 1937-1939; recruited by Guy Burgess into the Russian secret intelligence service; Reader in History of Art at London University; worked for MI5, and as an enemy agent for the Soviet Union, 1940-1945; Deputy Director, 1939-1947 and Director, 1947-1974, Courtauld Institute; Surveyor of the King's (later Queen's) Pictures, 1945-1972; knighted, 1956; unmasked as a spy by the FBI and secretly confessed, 1964; honorary fellowship Trinity College Cambridge, 1967; Adviser for the Queen's Pictures and Drawings, 1972-1978; researched and published on a wide range of topics, his special subject being Nicolas Poussin; publicly confirmed as a spy by the Prime Minister, knighthood and honorary fellowship annulled, 1979; died, 1983. Publications: include: Artistic Theory in Italy 1450 to 1600 (Oxford University Press, 1940); Franois Mansart and the origins of French classical architecture (Warburg Institute, London, 1941); The French drawings in the collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle (Phaidon Press, 1945); The Nation's Pictures: a guide to the chief national and municipal picture galleries of England, Scotland and Wales joint editor with Margaret Whinney (Chatto & Windus, 1950); Art and Architecture in France 1500 to 1700 (Penguin, 1953); The Drawings of G.B. Castiglione and Stephano Della Bella in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle (Phaidon Press, 1954); Venetian Drawings of the XVII and XVIII centuries in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle with Edward Croft-Murray (Phaidon Press, 1957); Philibert de l'Orme (Zwemmer, 1958); The Art of William Blake (Columbia University Press, 1959); Picasso, the formative years: a study of his sources with Phoebe Pool (Studio Books, London, 1962); Nicolas Poussin. Lettres et propos sur l'art. Textes runis et presentes par Anthony Blunt (Hermann, Paris, [1964]); Picasso's 'Guernica' (Oxford University Press, 1966); The paintings of Nicolas Poussin (London, Phaidon, [1966]); Nicolas Poussin with plates and illustrations 2 vol (Phaidon Press, London; Bollingen Series, New York, [1967]); The James A de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor General editor [A catalogue] (Fribourg, Aylesbury printed, 1967-); Sicilian Baroque (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1968); Neapolitan Baroque and Rococo Architecture (Zwemmer, [1975]); Baroque and Rococo: Architecture and Decoration (Elek, 1978); Borromini (Allen Lane, London, 1979); The Drawings of Poussin (Yale University Press, 1979); Guide to Baroque Rome (Granada, London, 1982); Paul Frart de Chantelou: Diary of the cavaliere Bernini's visit to France editor (Princeton University Press, 1985).

From the guide to the BLUNT, Anthony Frederick (1907-1983), [1930]-1972, (Courtauld Institute of Art)

Blunt was knighted in 1956. On 15 November 1979, the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, confirmed in the House of Commons that Blunt had been an agent of, and talent spotter for, Russian intelligence before and during the Second World War, although she added that there was insufficient evidence on which criminal charges could be brought. His knighthood was annulled. (Source: Oxford DNB)

Epithet: art historian and spy

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000496.0x00031c

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Sir, Michael Redgrave, Archive, 1890-1996 V & A Department of Theatre and Performance
creatorOf Herrmann, Wolfgang, 1899-1995. Wolfgang Herrmann papers, 1924-1991. Getty Research Institute
creatorOf BLUNT, Anthony Frederick (1907-1983), [1930]-1972 Courtauld Institute of Art
referencedIn Anthony Blunt : newspaper clippings. Frick Art Reference Library
referencedIn Straight, Michael Whitney. Michael Whitney Straight papers, 1931-2002. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Andrew Boyle: Papers, c. 1950-1990 Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives
referencedIn Papers, 1925-1997 Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Anthony Blunt : vertical file. Centre canadien d'architecture, | Canadian Centre for Architecture | CCA
creatorOf Boyce, Benjamin, 1903-. Papers, 1712-1983. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf Spielmann, Heinz. Palladio und die Antike : Untersuchungen seines zeichnerischen Nachlasses. University of London, Courtauld Institute of Art, Book Library
referencedIn MacNeice, Louis, 1907-1963. Louis MacNeice papers, 1960-1969. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Merz, Jörg Martin. Pietro da Cortonas Fresken in S. Bibiana zu Rom. University of London, Courtauld Institute of Art, Book Library
creatorOf ANGUS MACNAGHTEN: letters to Angus Macnaghten, writer and formerly member of the British Council, alphabetically arranged by writer's name. The correspondents include Lady Aberconway, Harold Acton, Tamara Karsavina (Mrs Bruce), Patrick Moore, Beverle..., 1908-1984 British Library
creatorOf Salz, Alan. Eustache Le Sueur and the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. University of London, Courtauld Institute of Art, Book Library
creatorOf Anthony Blunt: Memoir, 1979-1983 British Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Andrew Philip More Boyle person
associatedWith Bibliothque Nationale, French National Library corporateBody
associatedWith Boyce, Benjamin, 1903- person
associatedWith Courtauld Institute of Art corporateBody
associatedWith Eddy, George A. person
associatedWith Friedlander Walter fl 1944-1966 person
associatedWith Herrmann, Wolfgang, 1899-1995. person
associatedWith Mackenzie, Elizabeth, fl 1962-1982 person
associatedWith MacNeice, Louis, 1907-1963. person
associatedWith Mahon Sir John Denis b 1910 person
associatedWith Merz, Jörg Martin. person
associatedWith Panofsky, Erwin, 1892-1968 person
associatedWith Poussin Nicolas 1594-1665 person
correspondedWith Redgrave, Michael person
associatedWith Salz, Alan. person
associatedWith Spielmann, Heinz. person
associatedWith Straight, Michael Whitney. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Palermo Sicily Italy
Naples Italy
Russia Eastern Europe
Art collections
National art
Art theory
Primary documents
Visual materials
Literary forms and genres
Information sources
European art


Birth 1907-09-26

Death 1983-03-26





Ark ID: w6669gng

SNAC ID: 2728470