We often wax lyrical about Kurland’s natural beauty and vast landscapes, but this time we’re retreating indoors to admire the impressive art collection that the Estate’s owners have amassed over time.

To offer insight into Kurland’s unique portfolio, we sat down with Mark Read, Chairman of the esteemed Everard Read Group of Galleries. Not only is Mark an art aficionado in his own right, but he’s also a close family friend of Kurland’s owners, the Elphicks.

“The interesting thing about the art at Kurland is Kurland itself, because it’s such a fabulous place,” Mark says with admiration. “The art pieces are not hung in isolation. They’re part of a home, and they’re the product of years of input by creative thinkers. That has given the collection a specific patina, and that I think adds greatly to a collection.”

Thanks to a long friendship with Mark and his gallery, as well as a love of collecting art and regularly frequenting exhibitions, the Kurland collection is a disparate accumulation of paintings and sculptures from all over the world.

Take the Gary James painting of an Arab interior that’s housed within Kurland, for example. According to Mark, it’s one of the great Gary James pieces of all time.

“His works take about five or six years to complete,” Mark explains, “and during that time he gets to know the names of the camels he’s painting and all the names of the individuals that inhabit that painting, as well as their relationships with one another. So it’s the mind and the soul of a man living in the north of France but dreaming of the wonderment and extraordinary romance of north and east Africa. I’m completely obsessed with his art pieces. They’re not remotely commercial, but in my opinion they are completely unique.”

Then there are also two paintings by John Meyer, an accomplished painter who long ago took over the mantle of the great South African landscapist, JH Pierneef.

“John has accomplished what truly great landscape painters do,” Mark explains, “namely, impose their way of seeing the environment on you. He’s hijacked our retinas so that we look at the landscape of South Africa through his eyes. If you travel through the Karoo and you see a gate half hanging off its hinges and a tiny dusty road snaking up through far-off geological buttes, you think, ‘oh my gosh, that looks like a John Meyer’. For the last 60 to 70 years, John Meyer has completely dominated the minds and eyes of anyone who likes to look at the landscape of the arid interior of South Africa.”

And finally, Mark’s keen eye lands on a bronze sculpture of lady on a horse, sculpted by the then relatively unknown Olivia Musgrave, when the Elphick’s purchased it.

“Today Olivia’s large bronzes are much-loved in many important areas in Europe and the UK. She’s half Irish and half Greek, and this shows in her work through that sort of Irish whimsy playing with Greek mythology.”

“I think Kurland’s bronze of hers is just delicious,” he admits with a smile, “and I envy it greatly. She makes amusing, uplifting and optimistic sculptures, in a time when all of us can do with a bit of optimism in art, and I must admit that I never tire of visiting Kurland and looking at that Olivia Musgrave of yours”.

Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, Kurland is abuzz with inspiration causing visitors to look a little deeper and pause a little longer to see the details around every corner.