The Player International interviews

James Nicholls & Danièle Ryman of JN Investment Art

(Jan 2014)



art attack

When world class investment art dealer James Nicholls met his aromacollagist wife Danièle Ryman, romance and business fused together in perfect harmony. Andie Jones, editor in Chief, The Player, went to the banks of the River Thames in London’s Battersea to meet one of the most exciting couples in the art industry.

Art is in the Blood

It’s safe to say that both of these intriguing characters came from an interesting background. Danièle, originally from the south of France, grew up with an award-winning father in the areas of writing and poetry. With all of this creativity in the household it’s no surprise her career and hobby has turned out the way it has. “I knew I was being brought up in a very artistic way when my father asked us to decorate our large entrance hall in the style of Matisse. So three of us sat there all afternoon cutting up different coloured paper and we turned it into a Matisse collage”, Danièle said.

Describing herself as more of an aromacollagist than a therapist, Danièle’s passion for her profession is easy to see. “An aromacollagist looks at the types of scent and sees what they do to your psyche, so it’s a little different, I don’t do the massage bit.

I created the word aromacollagist and trademarked it back in the seventies” she told The Player. Having created a vast line of products for Marks and Spencer after trademarking her work, Danièle has gone on to make a huge success of her own branding. “I have a wide range of celebrities that I create products for, from their personal perfume to things for their health,” she revealed.

James, of New Zealand origin, has spent time living everywhere from Australia to the United States, South Asia and of course, the UK. After working his way through different industries, he finally made a break into the world of food and drink. “At the age of 30 I was Vice President of Pepsi Foods everywhere from Japan to New Zealand. I was in charge of all the franchising and marketing”, James said. Despite already being in a hugely commendable position, it wasn’t until he moved to the USA that his career really took off. “I was dealing with clients such as Willy Nelson, Bob Dylan, Bill Cosby, and launched Crocodile Dundee with Paramount”, he said.

The Joining of Two Industries

So how did these two people from completely different nationalities, professions and backgrounds come to meet?

“At the time I was working for Air New Zealand and living on planes”, said James. “One day, a member of staff came to me and said that she knew of these fabulous products that helped combat jet lag. So I went to this special clinic in The Park Lane Hotel where I met a lovely, stunning blonde woman called Danièle Ryman”, he explained.

“We did all these tests with the cabin crew, and people reacted to it so favourably that myself and the Marketing Director decided to make a partnership of it. We went on to win multiple awards”, he said.

Following such a successful business venture, the two become great friends with a shared love for arts, squeezing in trips to exhibitions whenever and wherever they could. With Lord Lichfield as a tremendous friend to James and his sister a friend of Danièle’s, you could say that their partnership was destined.

In-keeping with the couple’s artistic background and love for the finer things in life, James’ proposal was nothing short of perfect. After enjoying dinner, the moment took a hold of James and he opted for a spur-of-the-moment proposal. “I brought Danièle up to The Faberge Room that I’d wanted to visit, where there were candles and everything. I got down on one knee with my proposal and she miraculously said yes!” And that’s when their art collection really began to build as their joint passions grew alongside their relationship.

The Dealers

The real talent in collecting art, like with most businesses, if’s generating a profit, and with such knowledge between the two, it’s a talent that James and Danièle have truly mastered.

“We have a piece from a cubist artist that we hadn’t heard of, which we’d found after rummaging through this small antiques store in the south of France. I thought I love those colours and it really resonated with me, so we haggled and got it down to about 4000 Euros. We’ve seen most recently that the sister painting to this one sold for £73,000 in Christies!”

It seems James has a thrifty eye for a bargain. The thing that really stands out about the work that the couple now do is their willingness to share their own knowledge. They keep a keen eye on those not so in-tune with the business opportunities within art. “That’s what we enjoy the most”, explains James. “If you came to us and said that you wanted to invest ‘this’ amount of money, we’d recommend what to invest in now but also look beyond that to two, three or even five years down the line. In other words build up a collection”.

From humble beginnings of Danièle’s in-built love of art and James’ eye for business opportunities, this partnership has blossomed into a hugely successful art dealership, a lifetime achievement, charity work, a hobby and, more importantly, a love story. The Player wishes the two of them the best of luck for the future, and thanks them for sharing their fascinating story.

For more information please contact:

James Nicholls at JN Investment Art or visit

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