J&R Lamb Studios–Excellence Through Experience

Stained glass provides illumination, education, and inspiration. While “colored glass” objects date to the Egyptian and Roman eras, the stained glass that we are familiar with today traces its origins to the Middle Ages, specifically in the twelfth century French and Gothic periods. During this time, churches and cathedrals throughout the European continent began to install stained glass displays often accented with biblical depictions of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the apostles, and patron saints to convey “Heaven on earth” and provide a visual interpretation of the scripture for those who were unable to read the Bible.

While most stained glass is found in places of worship, not all stained glass applications are ecclesiastical in nature. Stained glass design has gradually and steadily been assimilated into other settings such as government facilities, universities, museums, well-known hotels & restaurants, and residential dwellings. The inspirational beauty of stained glass in the United States traces its history to the construction of some of the oldest churches in the country. Although stained glass was primarily constructed by individual artisans, studios began to emerge as the demand for stained glass increased with the rapid growth of the nation and its religious foundation. J&R Lamb Studios has been an instrumental part of that development.

Founded in 1857 by British brothers Joseph (1833-1898) and Richard Lamb (1836-1909) in New York City’s Greenwich Village, J&R Lamb Studios is the oldest continuously operating stained glass company in the United States owned by two different multigenerational families over the course of its 165 plus years: The Lamb and The Samick/Bleckman families.

Joseph Lamb (1833-1898)
First Generation
Photo Credit: Ella’s Certain Window by Barea Lamb Seeley, p. 130.
Richard Lamb (1836-1909)
First Generation
Photo Credit: Ella’s Certain Window by Barea Lamb Seeley, p. 130.

Charles Rollinson Lamb (1860-1942)–son of J&R Lamb Studios’ founder Joseph Lamb and his wife Eliza Rollinson Lamb (1825-1906)–became the next owner of the studio. Charles was an architect and successful business planner. He ran the studio with his talented artist wife Ella Condie Lamb.

Charles Rollinson Lamb (1860-1942)
Second Generation
Photo Credit: Ella’s Certain Window by Barea Lamb Seeley, p. 130.
Ella Condie Lamb (1862-1936)
Second Generation
Photo Credit: Ella’s Certain Window by Barea Lamb Seeley, p. 34.

While Charles was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the company, his brother Frederick Stymetz Lamb (1863-1928) was the head designer and managed the team of skilled artists. Frederick won many awards for his magnificent designs.

Frederick Stymetz Lamb (1863-1928)
–Second Generation–

Photo Credit: Ella’s Certain Window by Barea Lamb Seeley, p. 157

Charles and Ella’s son Karl Barre Lamb joined the studio in 1923. Karl succeeded his father Charles in operating the company from the late 1920’s until his death. Karl was responsible for moving the business from New York City to Tenafly, NJ during The Great Depression and focusing solely on stained glass design and production. Several well-known stained glass studios went bankrupt during that time, but J&R Lamb Studios survived due to the foresight and great business sense of Karl Lamb.

Colonel Karl Barre Lamb (1890-1969)
Third Generation
Photo Credit: Ella’s Certain Window by Barea Lamb Seeley, p. 301

Karl’s sister Katharine Lamb Tait (1895-1981) began working for the studio in 1921, and she became the head studio designer in 1936. Her wonderful and detailed designs awarded the company many commissions including her windows at the Catholic and Protestant chapels at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. She was the last Lamb family member to work at the studio.

Katharine Lamb Tait (1895-1981)
Third Generation
Photo Credit: Fair Use Image for Educational Purposes

In 1964, Donald Samick worked as an artist and apprentice in the J&R Lamb Studios’ Tenafly, NJ office. With Karl Lamb’s death and without a Lamb heir wanting to assume ownership of the stained glass business, Donald purchased the company in 1970.

Donald has dedicated his entire career to stained glass, with more than 50 years of experience in the business as a craftsman, designer, and studio owner. He has lectured at numerous churches, synagogues, and civic organizations. He is a member of the American Glass Guild, Art Glass Forum–NY, and SGAA.

Donald Samick & Donna Bleckman Samick, Former Owners of J&R Lamb Studios, Inc.
First Generation
October 2017
Photo Credit: The Bleckman Family

Lasting Legacy

In 2003, The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. formally recognized J&R Lamb Studios’ longevity through the acquisition and preservation of its original design archives for future generations to enjoy. 

Kathryn Bleckman with Her Beloved Mother-in-Law, Donna Bleckman Samick
First- & Second-Generation Owners of J&R Lamb Studios, Inc.
December 2019
Photo Credit The Bleckman Family

From 1996 until 2021, Donald and his artistic wife Donna Bleckman Samick, owned and operated the studio together. Unfortunately, Donna passed away in 2021 and will be forever missed by all who knew her. With Donna Bleckman Samick’s passing and Donald Samick’s retirement, David Bleckman (Donna’s son and Donald’s stepson) and his wife Kathryn have purchased Lamb Studios.

We aspire to continue the studio’s longevity by providing our customers with outstanding service and quality products due to experienced and dedicated ownership, skilled and tenured staff, and wonderfully talented commissioned stained-glass artists who create stunningly beautiful one-of-a-kind works of art.

As we did during The Great Depression (under the leadership of Karl Barre Lamb), our ability to adapt with the changing times has led to our success. Be it aesthetically traditional or modern design, religious or secular themes, J&R Lamb Studios works directly with our clients to understand and achieve their vision—from the initial consultation to the unveiling of a new or restored stained glass window. This personal attention to every detail will create windows that will last a lifetime.

It is the same commitment to excellence that has made us successful for more than 165 years and will continue to endure regardless of trends. We have commissioned more than 15,000 new stained-glass windows and 9,000 restorations over the years. We are proud of our history and THANK YOU for your loyalty and trust, which brings new generations to J&R Lamb Studios.

David & Kathryn Bleckman
Owners of J&R Lamb Studios, Inc. 

Kathryn & David Bleckman, Owners of J&R Lamb Studios, Inc.
Second Generation
October 2022
Photo Credit: The Bleckman Family

Studio Location Timeline

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (1857–1934)
PHILMONT, NEW YORK (1982–1997)

The J&R Lamb Studios’ Building in New York City’s Greenwich Village
Photo Credit: Ella’s Certain Window by Barea Lamb Seeley, p. 131.
Moving Out of the City During The Great Depression:
J&R Lamb Studios’ Building in Tenafly, NJ
Photo Credit: The Samick Family
Current Operations of J&R Lamb Studios, Midland Park, NJ
Photo Credit: The Bleckman Family

Connections Between the Samick/Bleckman and Lamb Families
–Charles Rollinson Lamb passed away in 1942, and Donald Samick was born in 1942.
–Karl Barre Lamb died in 1969, and David Bleckman was born in 1969.
–Kathryn Bleckman grew up on Lambs Lane (named after the J&R Lamb Studios’ Family) in Cresskill, NJ and Katharine Lamb Tait was her neighbor.

Lambs Lane in Cresskill, NJ
Photo Credit: The Bleckman Family