Animal (particularly horses) and landscape painter in oil, tempera and watercolour. Born in Newcastle, he attended classes at the School of Art, and is said to have briefly studied under Wilson Hepple. In 1900 he decided to become a full time professional artist after establishing a reputation from frequent exhibitions at the Berwick Club, Newcastle. He moved to Glaisdale where he remained until just before the First World War. He returned to Newcastle in 1914 where he set up a studio and practised also uninterruptedly for nearly ten years until his death, in 1924. He is buried in the Saltwell Cemetery, Gateshead.
Atkinson exhibited widely throughout his career including the Royal Acadamy, Royal Scottish Acadamy, the Institute of Painters in Watercolour and at many provincial galleries and exhibitions.