In 1799, James Atkinson, an enterprising young gentleman from the wild reaches of Cumberland, journeyed down to London with a pocketful of rose-scented bear grease balm, a headful of recipes and a large brown bear at his side. He was quickly able to turn his know-how into a thriving perfumery, impressing the gentry so much with his fragrances and pomades that they were willing to brave the not-inconsiderable carnivore guarding the entrance to his Gerrard Street shop.
James, dissatisfied with the vapid Italianate colognes then in vogue, imbued his own creations with a decidedly English twist, crafting perfumes that balanced an assertion with elaborate texture.
Thanks to the favour of Beau Brummel, dandy extraordinaire and 19th-century tastemaker, George V made the house Official Perfumer to the Royal Court. Napoleon, Nelson, The Duke of Wellington and numerous other luminaries all received bespoke bouquets, placing the shop at the very peak of Georgian society.
Now, after years of hibernation, Atkinsons returns rejuvenated and ready to bring its impeccable heritage to the modern world.