Anthony Blunt

In this curious hiatus when I am still officially on leave, I have taken the opportunity, unprecedently, of clearing my study at home.   Amidst the layers of ancient invitations, offprints and other detritus, I discovered a photocopy of the obituary of Anthony Blunt, written by Peter Kidson, who worked under Blunt at the Courtauld, and published by the British Academy thirty years after his death, presumably in expiation of the row over whether or not he should remain a Fellow (he resigned).  It’s the most thoughtful, well considered and judicious account of Blunt’s role as an art historian and how his espionage fitted into it.   He presumes that Betjeman was a contemporay of Blunt’s at school, which he was, but a year above, a different generation, more worldly, more English.   That generation regarded Blunt as having too much ink in his veins, which may have been true.

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