Anthony Blunt

From LGBT Archive
Jump to: navigation, search
Anthony Blunt
Anthony Frederick Blunt (1907–1983) was an art historian and member of the "Cambridge Five" group of soviet spies.

He was Professor of the History of Art at the University of London, director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, author of a number of important books on art history, and Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, for which he received a knighthood in 1956. At the same time he was spying for the Soviet Union, from about 1934 to at least the early 1950s.

Blunt was born in Bournemouth, educated at Marlborough College, and studied mathematics and modern languages at Trinity College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge he was a member of the Apostles. In 1939 he joined the British army. In 1940 he was recruited to MI5, the Security Service, where he began passing highly secret information from decrypted German signals to the Russians. Like fellow Cambridge spy Guy Burgess, Blunt was known to be homosexual,[1] which was a criminal activity at that time. In 1964 he confessed his spying activities to the British authorities, but this was not publicly revealed until 1979, at which point he was stripped of his knighthood.

Alan Bennett's play A Question of Attribution covers the weeks before Blunt's public exposure as a spy, and his relationship with the Queen. After a successful run in London's West End, it was made into a television play, aired on the BBC in 1991. This play has been seen as a companion to Bennett's 1983 television play about Guy Burgess, An Englishman Abroad.


  1. Andrew Pierce, Steophen Adams, "Anthony Blunt: confessions of spy who passed secrets to Russia during the war" The Daily Telegraph 22 July 2009