Quatrefoil: Four “Leaves” Of Distinction Embedded Within Architecture & the Interior

Architecture "Tracery":  The Ornamentation With Four Foils/Lobes Of Quatrefoil
Architecture “Tracery”: The Ornamentation With Four Foils/Lobes Of Quatrefoil

Quatrefoil (Qua-tre-foil) means “Four leaves” and is “A representation of a flower or leaf with four petals or leaflets, especially in heraldry and as “Architecture Tracery” or “an ornament with four foils or lobes”. Considered a “conventional representation of a flower with four petals or a leaf with four leaflets, the “4-loped foliation” in history is enduring. Found in art, architecture and religious symbolism, the ornamentation of Quatrefoil continues to delight. A design detail that is embedded within the Greek Revival, Gothic and Renaissance periods, its distinctive shape in ornamentation endures to embellish our world with its harmony and symmetry. A decorative framework of symmetry of four lobes that radiate from a common center, indeed…

Historic Renderings:  Quatrefoil Within The Interior
Historic Renderings: Quatrefoil Within The Interior
Variations Of Timeless Design:  Cinqfoil, Trefoil & Quatrefoil
Variations Of Timeless Design: Cinqfoil, Trefoil & Quatrefoil

And of the distinctive windows of architectural form? Captivating to the eye. These round “windows” or “cut out” forms with four lobes embedded within in the historic architecture that surrounds us are, perhaps, seemingly familiar to us. Perhaps, their shape is more prevalent in architecture than we have noticed. Perhaps, like a four petaled clover, the shape is familiar. Either way, the form of the Quatrefoil will endure to retain its distinction and aesthetic appeal. Perhaps, a greater appreciation for the historic shape, form and its meanings are at hand…

History's Representation Of Quatrefoil
History’s Representation Of Quatrefoil

Appreciation of the history of such an iconic emblem that we find embedded within our architecture and within the world of interior design brings forth a history and meaning of representation that is broad and diverse. In architecture, Quatrefoil refers to a “Symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially overlapping circles of the same diameter”. In heraldry, a quatrefoil represents the four-leafed clover as well as what is considered a “rare variant of the trefoil or three leafed clover”. Certainly, the clover and the Quatrefoil shape that the clover holds are emblems and symbols of good luck. Often, the Quatrefoil is combined with an equilateral triangle to form a “barbed” trefoil, which is viewed as a symbol of Celtic and traditional Christian religion due to the stylized thorns (projecting at the intersection of each pair of lobes) and seen as a representation of the cross. To the Native Americans, the Quatrefoil representation represents their holy “Four Corners of the Earth” (North, South, East and West). Thus, the meaning of this poignant emblem of ornamentation was dependent upon the context in which it was viewed. What has remained consistent, however, is its link it has held to “Luck” and good fortune. Alas, the iconic emblem of the “Four Leaf Clover”. Beyond the symbol of the clover, the beauty of form of the Quatrefoil is worthy of our attention…

Quatrefoil:  Symmetry & Harmony In Architecture
Quatrefoil: Symmetry & Harmony In Architecture
Exterior Embellishments Of Historical Design:  Quatrefoil
Exterior Embellishments Of Historical Design: Quatrefoil
Quatrefoil: The Fourth Presbyterian Church/Michigan Avenue/Chicago
Quatrefoil: The Fourth Presbyterian Church/Michigan Avenue/Chicago
Exterior & Interior Representations Of  Graphic Shape:  Quatrefoil
Exterior & Interior Representations Of Graphic Shape: Quatrefoil
Symmetrical Delight Within The Interior:  Quatrefoil
Symmetrical Delight Within The Interior: Quatrefoil
Decorative Framework Of History Within The Interior:  Quatrefoil
Decorative Framework Of History Within The Interior: Quatrefoil
Interior Architectural Form:  Quatrefoil
Interior Architectural Form: Quatrefoil
An Iconic Emblem Within The Interior: Quatrefoil
An Iconic Emblem Within The Interior: Quatrefoil
Historical Design Detail Within The Interior:  Quatrefoil
Historical Design Detail Within The Interior: Quatrefoil
Exterior Appeal In Quatrefoil Formation
Exterior Appeal In Quatrefoil Formation
The Coveted Four Leaf Clover:  Quatrefoil In Design
The Coveted Four Leaf Clover: Quatrefoil In Design

Consider with appreciation the beauty of the Quatrefoil. An Historical and distinctive emblem of ornamental form linked to good fortune, harmony, luck and well being. For certain, this four-lobed symmetrical shape, that resembles a four-petaled clover, represents proportion of distinctive form. “Four Leaves” or “Four Lobes” of distinction embedded within architecture and the interior, indeed…

Kristin

PS: Recollections of a personal sort…
Our marriage commenced under the embedded architectural distinction of Quatrefoil…

Circa 1995/Our Marriage/Under The Architectural Distinction Of Quatrefoil
Circa 1995/Our Marriage/Under The Architectural Symbol Of Quatrefoil
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6 thoughts on “Quatrefoil: Four “Leaves” Of Distinction Embedded Within Architecture & the Interior

  1. Kristin, I especially love your choice of pictures to represent the use of the quatrefoil in interior designs. One of my favorites was the doorknob, with the teacup a close second! I venture to guess my eyes will now search out this wonderful design, looking for it in unexpected places. I’ll think of you, your wonderful blog, and the history lesson you shared as I do so!

    1. Thank you, Stacy, for such a wonderful compliment! I truly appreciate your words. History behind such an form and emblem can only further our appreciation. And…I, too, adore the doorknob image! I am delighted that I may have inspired you to “search out” the distinctive emblem of the quatrefoil. You will certainly be amazed how often it appears in our world of architecture and interior design. And…perhaps be may inspired to view it from behind your lens? Thanks again for sharing….
      Kristin

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