JOHN H. DICK
Mr. Dick often deserted his plantation
in the low coastal country of South Carolina, to travel here,
there, and everywhere photographing birds and animals. He
went all over the United States, to East Africa, the Galapagos
Islands, India, Scotland, the Bahamas, Tierra del Fuego, and
the Palmer Peninsula of Antarctica.
When he returned home he had
more than enough reference material for his paintings and
if he should ever have run out of photographs, there were
always the many birds he keept in aviaries and open pens at
the plantation. He had about 40 species of ducks, including
Baikal Teal, Laysan Teal, Falcated Ducks, New Zealand Scaup,
Mandarin Ducks, and five kinds of tree ducks. Some of the
other permanent boarders were 18 species of geese and swans,
pheasants, peafowl, and undoubtedly some migratory guests
mingling with the yearlong residents.
Aviculture was a hobby that Mr.
Dick maintained for many years. He was born on May 12, 1919
and raised in Islip, Long Island, New York where even as a
small child he had a respectable collection of both American
and foreign wild ducks, pheasants, quail, and geese. He also
did quite a bit of drawing, but only for fun and not with
any idea of ever becoming an artist.
Mr. Dick was in the Air Corps
and after his separation in 1947 he went to live on the plantation
which had once belonged to his mother. At this time he began
drawing birds professionally, both on commission and as illustrations
for magazine articles and books.
Some of the books he illustrated
are South Carolina Bird Life by Sprunt and Chamberlain, University
of South Carolina Press 1949; Florida Bird Life by Sprunt,
Coward- McCann, Inc.; Warblers of America by Sprunt and Griscom,
Devin-Adair Co. 1957; A Gathering of Shore Birds by H. M.
Hall, Bramhall House 1959; Carolina Low Country Impressions
by Alexander Sprunt, Devin-Adair Co. 1964; and The Bird Watchers
of America, Edited by Olin S. Pettingill, McGraw-Hill Book
Mr. Dick was as absorbed in photography
as he was in painting; in fact, if one asked him about his
artwork on telephone, he would say, "I'm really a photographer."
He excelled, wearing either hat, mainly because the requirements
of both professions are the same, aside from the technicalities:
a good eye, a steady hand, and above all, an appreciation