Quatrefoil and Barbed Quatrefoil

design-dictionary-quatrefoil-doges-palace-venice.jpg

If you are going to walk the walk, you should talk the talk.

What are a quatrefoil and barbed quatrefoil?

QUATREFOIL :  (Rhymes with “baby oil’)  

An ornamental motif  that consists of four, partially overlapping, symmetrical circles of the same diameter. The Latin root of the word means four leaves and it describes the shape well. Seen often in architecture, decorative arts and fashion.    

BARBED QUATREFOIL:

 The “barbed quatrefoil”  is similar to a quatrefoil but notched at the angles with an inscribed square.  The earliest example of a barbed quatrefoil appeared in 1260 on Notre Dame in Paris.

Barbed quatrefoil on left. Quatrefoil on right.

Barbed quatrefoil on left. Quatrefoil on right.

History

The quatrefoil has a rich history.   The ornament was popular in the Gothic and Renaissance periods where it was often seen as tracery on a ceiling.   It has strong symbolic roots.  The quatrefoil is an ancient symbol of good luck.  Since it is readily dividable into equal portions, it is said to also symbolize harmony, symmetry and proportion.  In Christianity, the four leaves represent the four gospel authors in the Bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

daa123eb2a0ecaebdce92d780823ba84.jpg
34df64c14fa8d1dee210d1cab52e5c71.jpg

Today

Perhaps its rich symbolism helps explain the quatrefoil’s enduring popularity.  The shape made at least 3 appearances at the 2014 Hampton Designer Showhouse, indicating its strong appeal.

Interior design by The Rinfret Group at the Hampton Designer Showhouse. Photography by Lynn Byrne

Interior design by The Rinfret Group at the Hampton Designer Showhouse. Photography by Lynn Byrne

Interior design by Allison Hennessy. Photography by Lynn Byrne

Interior design by Allison Hennessy. Photography by Lynn Byrne

Interior design by Anne Tarasoff Interiors. Photography by Lynn Byrne

Interior design by Anne Tarasoff Interiors. Photography by Lynn Byrne

Here are a few more interesting examples of the quatrefoil and its cousin, the barbed quatrefoil.

91d0fb0511d11146eb08d74c5e6bb38b.jpg
448ff8b683ee21399ce9fa97d5e1f046.jpg
733509d53e49af46e286cdca6d09ffb9.jpg
Interior design by Thom Filicia

Interior design by Thom Filicia

52f060f13df3f748eed27ef90f5d5ba3.jpg
56767a2b5e32fe29a9bc0c9ab4294e74.jpg
design-dictionary-quatrefoil-nail-stickers.jpg

Um, I seriously want the nail stickers.

Photo credits: Doge’s Palace,  Flying ButtressesTracery ceiling   flower fountain tile  pool  Thom Filicia Chairs  bracelet  nail stickers