Art and architectural historians and design community insiders will assemble at the Library of Congress for a symposium on Nov. 28 celebrating 150 years of J & R Lamb Studios, America's oldest continuously-run decorative arts firm, which preceded and influenced the studios of both John LaFarge and Louis C. Tiffany.
The Library of Congress acquired the J & R Lamb Studios archives in 2003 to 2004. The collection contains company records and thousands of original artworks, including preparatory paintings for Lamb's famously influential stained-glass windows.
The symposium starts at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 28
, in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are needed.
C. Ford Peatross, curator of the Library’s architecture, design and engineering collections, organized the event, which is sponsored by the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division and Center for Architecture, Design and Engineering.
At the symposium, Virginia Raguin, a professor of art history and a distinguished scholar of stained glass and ecclesiastical art at the College of Holy Cross, will present “A Light on Lamb: Assessing and Contextualizing Lamb Studios Stained Glass and Decorative Arts.” She will place the impact of the Lamb Studios’ art in the larger context of historical and contemporary decorative arts. Elizabeth Terry, the curatorial assistant in the Library’s Center for Architecture, Design and Engineering, will present “Shepherding the Archive: Lamb at the Library of Congress.” Terry will discuss the story, uses and potential of the Library’s Lamb archive.
Barea Lamb Seeley, great-granddaughter of the studio’s co-founder Joseph Lamb and an archive donor, will present “A Family Member’s Memories of a Great American Art Family and Family Business.” Fellow donor Donald Samick, who began at Lamb Studios as a young artist and now owns the firm with his wife, Donna, will explain the evolution of the Lamb’s aesthetics and business model over its 150 years and into the future with the presentation “J & R Lamb Studios from the Past and into the Future.”
Symposium participants will visit the old and new Lamb stained glass, along with Tiffany and German glass, at St. Mark’s Church on Capitol Hill, behind the Library’s Adams Building. The symposium will end with a display of selected Library Lamb archive art in the Prints & Photographs Division Reading Room.
The Lamb archives, containing business and family papers and nearly 2,500 preparatory and study sketches for stained-glass windows, murals, mosaics, furnishings, metalwork and interior architecture, provide unique insights into the changing aesthetics and artistic practices in the United States. The sketches, created from the 1860s to the 1990s, primarily for churches, synagogues and other sacred spaces, offer a rich body of information concerning material culture for more than 100 years. The designs are of interest to those involved in the decorative arts, architecture, religion, the Arts & Crafts Movement and the ongoing revivals and survivals of Gothic and Neo-Gothic forms.