John Thomas Blight

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For the Australian poet, see John Blight.
John Thomas Blight
John Thomas Blight.jpg
Born(1835-10-07)7 October 1835
Died23 January 1911(1911-01-23) (aged 75)
OccupationAntiquarian and draughtsman
Parent(s)Robert Blight

John Thomas Blight FSA (7 October 1835 – 23 January 1911) was a Cornish archaeological artist born near Redruth in Cornwall, England, UK.[1]

His father, Robert, a teacher, moved the family to Penzance and introduced his sons to the study of nature, antiquities and folk lore. John Blight was a natural draughtsman. By the age of 20, Blight had published a book[2] on the antiquities of Penwith and a large collection of drawings.

His expansion of this work, in two volumes, was at first encouraged by Rev. R. S. Hawker and then the cause of a great quarrel. John Blight's second patron, James Halliwell, was similarly unhelpful, never paying him for his vast labour in illustrating Halliwell's projected edition of William Shakespeare's Works.

In the mid-1860s, Blight had a mental breakdown and was incarcerated for the remainder of his life in Bodmin Mental Asylum. Blight's recording of Cornish antiquities includes many that no longer exist. His descriptions and illustrations of them provide a most valuable source for archaeologists and local historians.

Major works[edit]

A Week at the Land's End; London, 1861


  1. ^ Smelt, Maurice (2006) 101 Cornish Lives. Penzance: Alison Hodge ISBN 0-906720-50-8, pages 30-23.
  2. ^ Ancient Crosses and Other Antiquities in the West of Cornwall (1856) at the Internet Archive
  3. ^ A reprint is offered online at Men-an-Tol Studios Archived 15 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading[edit]

  • Bates, Selina & Spurgin, Keith (2006). The Dust of Heroes: The Life of Cornish Artist, Archaeologist and Writer John Thomas Blight, 1836-1911. Truro: Windowbox Books. ISBN 978-0-9553304-0-7 (hc), ISBN 978-0-9553304-1-4 (pbk)