For decades the name Dick was one of the most well-known in the Drakenstein Valley, associated with hardware and furniture. Now the name James Dick has become well known in the world of art.
Dick, from the well-known family who owned renowned stores such as Dick & Allsop and Dicks in Paarl, South Africa, was a popular and very promising rugby player at Paarl Boys High School.
After school and the army, he went on to study agriculture, horticulture and oenology at Elsenburg College.
A few years of overseas work and travel followed, and on his return to South Africa Dick started work at a nursery in the Eastern Cape that specialized in growing roses. In his spare time he used his rugby skills to teach farm workers to play rugby and established a rugby league for them. In return, they taught him to speak Xhosa.
Two years later, Dick started working for Redhill Superplant and Pickstones Nursery in Groot Drakenstein. Eventually the travel bug hit again, and he packed up and set off for the United States.
Shortly after his arrival in Tucson, Arizona in 1991 he met the woman of his dreams in an art gallery. “I saw Sarah, who had just graduated from Yale and was working in a local gallery,” Dick recalled. “With a bottle of window cleaner in my hand I asked her if I could wash the gallery windows. A week later I asked her to marry me.”
In February 1992, he returned home with his bride-to-be, and the couple were married in the Congregational church in Paarl.