New Communist Party of Britain
Outstanding art historian; an authority on Nicolas Poussin; distant relative of the Queen and a Soviet agent, Anthony Blunt's life remains shrouded in mystery. The son of an Anglican vicar Blunt was a brilliant scholar, become a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge in the 1932. A year later, following a visit to the Soviet Union, he joined Soviet intelligence.
At Cambridge he recruited Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Kim Philby, the "Cambridge spies" whose defections rocked the British establishment in the 50s and 60s. Blunt was commissioned in the British Army during World War 11 and after a brief spell in France he was attached to MI5, where he passed information on to the Soviet Union, which was then allied to Britain in the struggle against the Nazis.
His work for Soviet intelligence ended after the war and Blunt rose in the world of fine art. In 1945 he was appointed Surveyor of the King's Pictures and was knighted in 1956. In 1947 he became director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, a post he held until 1974.
In 1964 M15 learnt of his war-time work for the Soviets and Blunt agreed to co-operate in return for immunity from prosecution and a promise of secrecy. But in 1979 he was exposed in a book inspired by M15 officers and he was publicly named by Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Blunt was stripped of his knighthood. He spent his last years in France dying four years later.
He is buried at Putney Vale Cemetery, London.