Henri Brocard, that was the name of the future perfumer, was born in Paris in 1837. His father, Atanas Brocard, had a small perfumery factory in the capital of France. But, his business was far from brilliant, once on the brink of bankruptcy, Atanas was forced to flee to the United States of America, hoping to continue his business there. True, overseas luck turned away from him, after a while Brocard Sr. entrusted his business to his sons, and he himself returned to Europe.
The heirs managed to improve matters, their products were recognized at prestigious perfumery exhibitions. But, in 1861, 24-year-old Henri Brocard decided on a desperate step, moved to faraway Russia, where he was invited by the perfumer-entrepreneur Konstantin Gik. As it turned out later, almost the rest of his life would be connected with the Russian Empire.
To begin with, Henri Brocard decided to change his name, calling himself Heinrich Afanasyevich. In Russia, he saw tremendous opportunities for the implementation of his plans, the competition in the country was much lower than in France or the United States. At the same time, Brokar was given a pretty decent salary. Despite the fact that he was just a hired employee, Genrikh Afanasievich did not give up the hope of reopening his own business.
In 1862 Brocard married Charlotte Rave, daughter of the Belgian Thomas Rave, who worked in Moscow. The young perfumer conquered the girl by giving her a whole basket of violets made of wax. But, wax flowers were impregnated with a special composition that emitted the scent of living violets. Working as a laboratory assistant at the Geek factory, Brocard spent nights working on a method of making concentrated perfumes that would win over the most demanding customers.
A few years later, the roster was ready, but Brocard decided that it would be extremely difficult to sell this technology in Russia. For some time he left for his homeland, in Paris, where he sold the patent to the famous French company “Ruhr Bertrand”. And he received an impressive amount for his invention – 25,000 francs.
Brocard no longer needed to work for entrepreneur Geek. In Moscow, he opened his own soap production. Initially, besides Brocard himself, there were two other workers. A small enterprise produced from 60 to 100 bars of soap a day with the name “Detskoe”. Despite the high quality, it was not expensive and was available to all segments of the population. The soap was also attractive by the fact that the letters of the Russian alphabet were applied to it. In Moscow, they joked that many children learned to read “according to Brocard.”
But, even the wide popularity of the Moscow soap-maker Genrikh Afanasievich Brokar did not suit. He wanted to be the purveyor of His Imperial Majesty’s Court. He began with the fact that in 1873 he made for the daughter of Alexander II, Grand Duchess Maria, a basket of wax flowers with the scent of real ones. This is how he managed to win the favor of his fiancée Charlotte a few years earlier.
In 1878 Brocard’s firm opened a new store in Moscow on Birzhevaya Square. Special sets appeared on sale on the opening day, in which one could find almost the entire assortment: from cheap soap to chic perfumes. The Moscow police had to work hard to ensure order, a real crush began in the queue for the kits. In a few hours, more than two thousand sets were sold.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, the annual turnover of the Brocar company exceeded 2,500,000 rubles. In 1900, the products of the factory won the Grand Prix at the World Exhibition in Paris. But, by that time, the health of the owner himself had already begun to malfunction. Increasingly, he had to leave for treatment in Cannes, where he died on December 3, 1900. At the end of his life, Genrikh Afanasievich Brocard expressed a desire to be buried in his homeland in Paris. His will was fulfilled, the famous perfumer was buried in the family crypt in the town of Provins, near Paris.
Brocard went down in history not only as a perfumer, but also as a famous collector. He became interested in collecting in the early seventies, when he acquired several paintings of the Flemish school. It was the paintings of Western European painters that formed the basis of Brocard’s collection, there were about 1,000 paintings in it, the earliest of which date back to the 15th century.
After Brocard’s death, his wife opened a museum named after him. After the October Revolution, the collection was nationalized, most of the paintings ended up in the Tretyakov Gallery. By that time, the collection of Brocard’s paintings was significantly replenished, since his son was also engaged in collecting. Brokers, being wealthy people, bought not only individual paintings, but entire collections.
The sons of Heinrich Brocard, Alexander and Emilius, continued their father’s perfumery business. It was they who, in 1913, when the Russian Empire celebrated the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanovs, made the Empress’s Favorite Bouquet perfume, which became incredibly popular among wealthy buyers. But, the business of the Brocard family ended at the end of 1917.
The company was nationalized and received a new, rather unfortunate, name – Zamoskvoretsky perfume and soap factory №5. But, after a while it was renamed into the plant “New Zarya”. The perfume “The Empress’s Favorite Bouquet” was popular after the revolution, but the name did not correspond to the revolutionary spirit of that era. Therefore, the inscription “Red Moscow” appeared on the packaging.
You could buy them not only in the shops of the Soviet Union, the perfumes developed by the Brocar firm gained popularity in other countries as well. In 1958, at the perfumery exhibition in Brussels, Krasnaya Moskva received an award for the best fragrance.Источник: https://i-fakt.ru/biography/genrix-brokar-russkij-parfyumer-francuzskogo-proisxozhdeniya/
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