Lamb, Thomas


Lamb, Thomas
(1871-1942)
   The great theatre designer, known for his palatial interior décors, was born in Dundee, Scotland, and came to America at age 12. He studied architecture at Cooper Union Institute, then worked as a New York City building inspector until 1909. A commission from William Fox to design the City Theatre on Fourteenth Street launched Lamb's career, during which he drafted plans for over 300 legitimate and motion picture theatres. While Lamb quickly proved himself as an innovator in structural components and use of space, he remains associated in the public mind with the opulence of his "deluxe style" that borrowed from various cultures. The Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre (1912) in New York, for example, brought together Greek and Roman figures and classical Egyptian motifs. Others incorporate Persian, Hindu, Spanish, Renaissance, Louis XVI, or Second Empire features. The size and opulence of Lamb's theatres made them expensive to maintain, and most no longer exist. Among the surviving Thomas Lamb-designed theatres are the Hippodrome (1914) in Baltimore; the Winter Garden (1914) and the Elgin in Toronto; the Capitol (1920) in Windsor, Ontario; the Capitol (1921) in Winnipeg; the Tivoli (1924) in Washington, D.C.; the Palace (1926) and the Ohio in Columbus; Loew's Midland (1927) in Kansas City; and B. F. Keith's Memorial (1928) in Boston.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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