Surround Yourself with Beauty

Curt’s writing opens up magical worlds of people, places, and historical events brimming with hidden facts and delightful anecdotes. His beautifully illustrated books showcase Curt’s passion and joy for history and art, all skillfully woven together with deep knowledge, quirky insights, and an extraordinary flair for sharing entertaining stories. His light-hearted tone opens the door to a stimulating exploration of all aspects of history and reveals a unique talent to entertain and inform in perfect harmony.

A British Country House Alphabet

Volume 1

A British Country House Alphabet is the first volume in a series of books that will document famous historical events and cultural innovations that occurred at British country houses.

Volume 1  is  made possible by
Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation
Christina M. Feicht
Leslie Holmes
Ellen A. Michelson
Ryan Taliaferro
Nancy Clay and John W. Webster


Letter illustrations by Olena Fedotova /


This kaleidoscopic survey of the British country house is a treasure trove of delights. Every quirky and unexpected detail reveals a new perspective on the endlessly fascinating story of Britain’s greatest cultural legacy to the world. In Curt DiCamillo’s sparkling prose these houses have at last found their troubadour, gifting an authentic and original voice to their matchless glories.

Ben Cowell, OBE, Director General, Historic Houses Association, London

Curt DiCamillo’s new volume, "A British Country House Alphabet: A Historical & Pictorial Journey," is a delightful insight into the world of the British country house using a quirky, alphabetically arranged collection of stories about things, people, objects, and legends that emanate from the country house world—each richly illustrated and delivered with wit and wisdom. Everything is here, from the origins of the game of Badminton at the great house of that name, to the inspiration for Blandings Castle and the origin of the Bowler Hat—and these examples are just some of “B” entries—there is much, much more besides. The collection is a sheer joy, and as you read through you feel not only the infectious enthusiasm of the author for country houses, but also his years of serious, concentrated research and investigation. "A British Country House Alphabet" will be enjoyed, both in its own right, and as a springboard to your travels.

Jeremy Musson, M Phil, FSA, author of "English Country House Interiors" and presenter of BBC2’s "The Curious House Guest"

"A British Country House Alphabet" is a delight from start to finish—a wonderful mix of arcane country house lore, magnificent mansions, and fabulous stories. I can't wait for Volume 2!

Adrian Tinniswood, OBE, FSA, author of 16 books on social and architectural history


It’s generally agreed that the modern game of badminton was invented on a rainy afternoon in the Great Hall at Badminton House.

The Dark Lady

Mary Fitton, who was born at Gawsworth Old Hall, is believed by some historians to have been Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady.”

Miss Havisham's House

Charles Dickens was a frequent visitor to Rushton Hall and probably used the house as an inspiration for Miss Havisham’s home in Great Expectations.

A British Country House Alphabet: A Historical & Pictorial Journey

Published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Curt DiCamillo’s series of three high quality hardback books use the alphabet to frame an astonishing variety of material as a backdrop to endless, beguiling stories. Curt’s series of crisp, zesty entries dive into fascinating moments of British cultural history—from tea to bananas, from Canaletto to Agatha Christie, from porcelain to ghosts. The text is an exhilarating whistle stop tour—perfectly pitched for pleasurable sampling that will enchant both newcomers and seasoned visitors to country houses.


The series of ABC Books is made possible by Nancy Clay and John W. Webster