Have you ever wondered about the beautiful stained glass windows you can see in many vintage Bergen County homes? Typically, there is one rectangle window on each side of a fireplace or maybe in the entrance area or stairwell of houses from the 1890s through the 1930s.
Lamb Studios was in the Cresskill/Tenafly area and I had suspected the windows had been created there. I visited the studios in a newer location in Midland Park recently and spoke to Dave Bleckman and he informed me there were several stained glass studios making them at the time. He gave me a tour of their workshop and the team had several projects lined up including windows from a church in Rutherford and windows damaged in the devastating 2016 fire in the historic First Presbyterian Church in Englewood.
From a preservation perspective, it was very encouraging to see that this kind of work can still be accomplished. Dave described some of the process in creating the artwork.
This local business has drawing files going back to their founding in 1857 that “would take up a warehouse”, so they were delighted that the Library of Congress took on the project of scanning the artwork. You can go to the link in the comments to see some of the 2,500 sketches, it’s currently a work-in-progress for the Archives.
I recently found a large 1900ish stained glass window on my evening walk that someone had put out for garbage. It was cracked in a couple of places and needed repair which gave me an excuse to visit the studio. I took some photos and share here.
This artwork medium is so cheery.
Library of Congress:
“About the Lamb Studios Archive
The online presentation of the Lamb Studios Archive offers images of nearly 2,500 design sketches for stained glass windows, murals, mosaics, furnishings, metalwork, and interior architecture. The drawings feature striking watercolors created from the 1860s to the 1990s, primarily for churches, synagogues, and other sacred spaces. The J. & R. Lamb Studios was founded in 1857 and is the oldest decorative arts firm in continuous operation in the United States. The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division acquired the drawings from Donald and Donna Samick, the current Lamb Studios president, in 2003. The firm’s historic business records and photographs were donated by Barea Lamb Seeley and Charles Anthony Lamb in 2004.
Digital scans of the sketches, intended for ready reference viewing, display online with each catalog record description. For preservation reasons, the fragile original drawings cannot be served.”
Photos are of a tour through Lamb Studios.