Architectural Embellishments Of Elegant Distinction: The French “Oeil-de-bouef” Window

Grand Details In Architecture:  Oiel-de-bouef  Windows
Grand Details In Architecture: Oiel-de-bouef Windows

Oeil-de-bouef. A common French architectural element, Oeil-de-bouef windows are circular or oval shaped windows historically found across France. The round or oval openings within the frieze or roof not only allows the admittance of daylight but provides beauty and distinction. A grand embellishment from the outside as well as the inside. French for “Bull’s Eye” and also referred to as “Eye of the Steer” and “Ox Eye”, the majestic and distinctive window graces the facades of France’s beautiful buildings with an enduring allure

Oculus windows (circular openings in a dome or wall) have been a feature of French Classical architecture since the 16th century. These circular or oval windows, set in dormers, typically hinge to open outward. Function paired with beauty and elegance in architectural details. Of note, these circular windows are also found as portholes of ships. Function paired with structure. But of the glorious zinc or carved wooden Oiel-de-boeuf windows of grandeur that embellish the facades of historical architecture? Iconic embellishments to be appreciated, for certain. Architecturally, the window is described as “Usually resembling a wheel, with glazing bars (bars framing the panes of glass) as spokes radiating outward from an empty hub, or circular centre”. Circular style with elaborate details and distinctive form. The glory of the circular window…

Historical Architectural Renderings: The Oeil-de-boeuf Window
Historical Architectural Renderings: The Oeil-de-boeuf Window
French Grandeur:  Oeil-de-boeuf
French Grandeur: Oeil-de-boeuf
French Elegance:  The Salon de l'Oeil-de-boeuf" (1701) Palace of Versailles
French Elegance: The Salon de l’Oeil-de-boeuf” (1701) Palace of Versailles

And of the French history that is encased within these glorious windows of decorative function? Alas, at the helm of Louis XIV, the round window of distinction and grandeur decorated the room known as the “Salon de l’Oeil-de-boeuf” (Room of the Bull’s Eye) within the grand French Chateau, the Palace of Versailles. Timeless distinction of French origin, once again.

Of course, the appeal and distinction of these windows would soon travel beyond France’s borders. During the 17th century in Britain, Oeil-de-boeuf windows embellished the manor houses of the Jacobean period. Known as the British Renaissance, the Jacobean era refers to the period in English and Scottish history that coincides with the reign of King James VI (1567-1625) of Scotland (who would also inherit the crown of England). “Jacobean”, derived from Jacobus, the latin form of the English name James, was a period that included the visual arts and decorative arts. It is no surprise that the Oeil-de-boeuf window would become an element of architecture within this period. Adorning the Stately homes built as a celebration and demonstration of wealth, the Oeil-de-bouef windows grace the visual landscape of the architecture not only in France but also the architecture found along the moors and dales of the British terrain. An enduring embellishment, indeed…

Oiel-de-bouef: Elaborate Elegance
Oiel-de-bouef: Elaborate Elegance
Historic French Style:  The Decorative Oeil-de-bouef Window
Historic French Style: The Decorative Oeil-de-bouef Window
Distinction & Appreciation Of  The Architectural Jewel:  Oiel-de-bouef
Distinction & Appreciation Of The Architectural Jewel: Oiel-de-bouef

And of the decoration within the interior of the Oiel-de-bouef window? An architectural salvage element that provides interest and visual allure. A timeless focal point that will endure in appreciation no matter where you reside. Adding an element of timeless French flair of distinction within the interior is an embellishment worthy of its place within our homes for those of us fortunate to acquire an emblem of historic distinction…

Oiel-De-Bouef As Decoration
Oiel-de-bouef As Decoration
Architectural Elements Within The Interior:  Oeil-de-boeuf
Architectural Elements Within The Interior: Oeil-de-boeuf
Oiel-de-bouef:  "Bulls Eye" Of Delight
Oiel-de-bouef: “Bulls Eye” Of Delight

Consider with appreciation the sophisticated symmetry paired with the elaborate formation of design of the Oeil-de-boef window. Whether elaborate carvings of wood or stone or formations and structures made from zinc or copper or other metals of complex decoration, the distinction and elegance that the window provides from the exterior as well as the interior cannot be refuted. Design of distinction. An embellishment that will endure in appreciation of its beauty and form. From a time of grandeur, the grandness of the Oeil-de-boef window will endure as a timeless embellishment of architectural distinction. Elegant distinction, indeed…

Kristin

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