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The Enlightenment: The Lamb Studios Stained Glass Newsletter

January 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 1

Keeping Up With Stained Glass Restoration

As we reflect on 2017 we find ourselves very grateful to still be at the forefront of the stained glass industry after 160 years of business. During the late 1800s Lamb Studios found itself competing with the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany and John LaFarge. Today Lamb Studios no longer competes with Tiffany or Lafarge, but instead we find ourselves preserving and restoring the great art work created by both studios. We also get to enjoy and restore great work that our studio created nearly a century ago. In 2017, Lamb Studios had the opportunity to restore a beautiful Angel window and a large plated glass window depicting the Good Shepherd that we created nearly 100 years ago, a couple of Tiffany windows, and two beautiful John LaFarge windows.

In order to restore and preserve a historic stained glass window it is important to know and understand the artist that made the window. Lamb Studios owner, Donald Samick, and Lamb Studio Project Manager, David Bleckman, continued to further their knowledge of stained glass designers Donald MacDonald and Henry Holiday by taking advantage of their connections to the National Arts Club, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, The Victorian Society of New York, and scholar George Bryant.

In September Donald Samick and David Bleckman attended a presentation by Jennifer Thalheimer, the Curator and Collections Manager of the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The presentation was hosted by the National Art Club in Gramercy Park, NY. Jennifer Thalheimer made a detailed presentation of lesser known but very important stained glass artist Donald MacDonald. Donald MacDonald, who was a student of John LaFarge, rivaled Louis Comfort Tiffany with many great stained glass windows. The National Arts Club was founded in 1898 and Charles Rollison Lamb was a co-founder who helped design the club’s interior when it took over the Tilden mansion. A key architectural element of the club’s building is a large stained glass dome designed by Donald MacDonald.

In October Donald Samick and David Bleckman attended a presentation by the Victorian Society of New York. Henry Holiday scholar, George Bryant, gave a presentation on Henry Holiday at The Church of the Holy Trinity in New York City. Henry Holiday was a great English painter, stained glass designer, illustrator, and sculptor. Mr. Holiday designed more than 30 historic stained glass stained glass windows in the New York City area including The Church of the Holy Trinity windows and the windows at St. Luke’s Hospital. Charles Lamb of Lamb Studios was a friend of Henry Holiday and installed Mr. Holiday’s windows at St. Luke’s Hospital.

In January the National Arts Club will be hosting another presentation on John LaFarge which will be presented by Julie Sloan.

Five Steps Every Parish Should Take To See If Their Stained Glass Windows May Need Restoration

Stained glass window restoration in the United States began in the 1960s as America’s churches started to age. Windows in churches that were built during the surge of construction at the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century are now in need of attention.

Of all the components of a church building – roof, walls, windows, floors, and foundations – stained glass windows typically are the last item to receive attention. This is due in part to their beauty. They are pieces of artwork in the church, so they generally are not considered a structural component. And because failures in a stained glass window often are not obvious to a lay person, they may go unnoticed until the damage has reached the point that expensive restoration is required.

However, there are steps that a parish member can and should take to examine the church’s stained glass windows to determine if any are in need of restoration.
  • Does the window push outward when pressed? The window should be set firmly in its frame and sash.
  • Are the thick reinforcing bars still attached securely to the window? The bars should not be broken away and any tie wires around the reinforcing bar should still be soldered to the lead on the window.
  • Do glass panes rattle within their lead frameworks? Loose glass may need only a fresh supply of putty pushed up by hand under the leads, around the glass pieces, and into any gaps.
  • Are the panels bulging? If the bulging area is firmly set in sound leads, there is no immediate danger. If bulging occurs around the reinforcing bars, however, a structural weakness is indicated.
  • Is glass cracked, broken, or shattered? Cracked pieces that are still secure can be left alone. Loose pieces may be carefully glued with clear epoxy. Missing, mismatched or leaking glass should be replaced.
If a window is displaying any of these conditions, it would be wise to have a conditions report prepared by reputable studios of the Stained Glass Association of America. Not all stained glass studios specialize in stained glass restoration so checking restoration references is advisable. The Stained Glass Association of America compiled for their member studios a workbook entitled the Standards and Guidelines for the Preservation of Stained (and Leaded) Glass Windows to ensure proper care is taken with your stained glass windows.

Deferring maintenance of your stained glass windows can result in failed frames and lead cames, resulting in costly replacement. Make annual inspections, and consider establishing a stained glass maintenance budget where a certain amount of money is allocated each year.

Lamb Studios And The Movie Industry

Lamb Studios has ties to the movie industry and recently had the opportunity to create four new stained glass windows for a new movie, The Equalizer 2, filmed in Boston. The studio also was selected to restore and install in a building located in Times Square a large stained glass window for Paramount Pictures. From time to time our studio is asked for permission to show one or more of our stained glass windows in a film. We recently gave permission for one of our stained glass windows to be seen in a new movie being filmed in Long Island.

New Commissions

While restoring stained glass windows is a major part of our business we still enjoy creating new stained glass windows. Here are just a few of the new windows we recently created.
Canterbury School, New Milford, CT
Hillsdale United Methodist Church, Hillsdale, NJ
Grace Episcopal Church, Gainesville, GA


Ramsey High School, Ramsey, NJ
The Prasada, Central Park West, NYC

Curb Appeal

When we are not restoring or creating beautiful new stained glass windows we are assisting churches in bringing their beautiful stained glass windows to the public. Curb appeal is so important when trying to attract new parishioners. Removing and replacing old protective coverings with new glass that won’t fade or obscure the view can do wonders for first impressions. Here are a couple of transformations that we recently made.
All Saints Episcopal, Philadelphia, PA
Our Saviour Lutheran, Rego Park, NY

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