Agapenor, further reading

Agapenor, a “blue flue Liner”.

A ‘Blue Funnel’ line ship manoeuvring in Bombay (Mumbai) Roads.

Agapenor at Bombay (Mumba)

Agapenor at Bombay” (Mumbai), 29 x 60 cm (11½” x 23½”), oils on canvas, sold to a private collector.

Agapenor was among my paintings chosen and exhibited by invitation at the European Parliament, May 2011

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Greek heroes’ provided the names of almost all the Blue Flue ships, why is explained in this text.

This charming painting of a “blue flue” is one of a series and the only one I have left after I painted ships with links to Alfred Holt & Company of Liverpool.

Agapenor was a general cargo liner, a type of ship that could work almost anywhere using her own derricks, be it in port or with surf boats or way up a muddy river in darkest Africa.

Not so long ago you could not visit the Port of Liverpool without seeing a Blue Funnel Line ship or several, likewise the Suez Canal and many renowned ports of the east.

Agapenor at Bombay, a detail

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This is a scene from an age now way astern.

It was a privileged to get to know the people who manned and serves such ships, work I really enjoyed.

I’d gladly paint more and for other companies although today there are few of us who remember those ships and people who built the best of our world today so such commissions are now rare.

‘Agapenor’ was one of my 35 paintings chosen for the European Parliament exhibition and today is the last of her type I have unsold.

I don’t really mind, it’s a pleasure to have her from time to time on my wall.

Agapenor was the son of Anchaeus king of the Arcadians.

He lead 60 ships to the siege of Troy where he was one of the volunteers who manned the wooden horse of Troy.

On his journey back he was shipwrecked and is said to have founded Paphos on the Isle of Cyprus.

You can enquire about commissioning paintings at, Commissioning paintings, a simple solution and guide.

Alfred Holt, the company founder, a Liverpool man, had trained as a railway engineer but found ships more interesting.

Blue Funnel, blue flue explained :

Alfred Holt started his ocean going vocation with buying shares in the 3 masted ship “Dumbarton Castle” mostly because the “Dumbarton Castle” had 2 direct acting 44 horse power steam engines.

After hand over Alfred found his purchase included a surprising number of bibles and a quantity of a rather good blue paint.

Can you guess the rest?

The distinctive funnel colour was good for business although it was over 100 years before the name ‘Blue Funnel Line’ became a registered company.

This Agapenor was a ‘Blue Flue Liner’ or more correct but equally strange to the modern ear, a ship of the China Mutual Steam Navigation Company.

Heroic Greek names explained :

His brother Phillip joined him in 1865 after the first voyages.

The brothers considered their shipping line the biggest adventure of their lives and for them Homer’s Odyssey was the finest adventure story ever written.

The Ship :

Agapenor 1947 to 1981 was built by Scotts’ Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Greenock for the China Mutual Steam Navigation Company who in turn were part of the famous Ocean Steam Navigation Company otherwise known as The Blue Flue Line or The Blue Funnel Line.

 Agapenor, bridge
Agapenor, bridge detail

1967 saw Agapenor trapped by an Arab Israel war when the Suez Canal was closed.

I remember seeing the ships on BBC TV; it was an on going story.

In 1968 the company proposed abandoning the ship but the insurers would not accept that.

Eventually the ship was abandoned, in February 1969, and placed in the care of a nearby Czechoslovakian ship, the “Lednice” in 1971.

It was 1975 before the ship was finally ignominiously towed from the canal to Trieste to off load her rather dated cargo.

She was sold to Faynar Shipping Co SA, registered at Panama and renamed ‘Nikos’.

As such she served until broken up in 1981 at Karachi.

This painting is available, Agapenor at Bombay” (Mumbai), 29 x 60 cm (11½” x 23½”), oils on canvas, £950.00.

To enquire about commissioning similar paintings simply use our contact us link.

I’ll keep a ‘weather eye’ open and look forward to hearing from you., Commissioning paintings, a simple solution and guide.

My contacts with the Blue Funnel line which included visits to the Alfred Holt offices in Liverpool were encouraged by staff and many ex employees who clearly had a great affection for the company; and in particular by my good friend the former editor of Sea Breezes magazine, (Harry) C. H. Milsom.

To acquire this or commission a similar painting

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