Friday, August 17, 2007

The Quatrefoil Part II

For more inspiring quatrefoil images, please visit my companion site.

Since my first post on the quatrefoil shape, I have been seeing it everywhere! In architecture, a quatrefoil is a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter. The most common forms of the quatrefoil is shown in the middle image below; in this version of the quatrefoil, the circles are pulled almost as far apart as they can be and still have the circumferences of the innermost circular white areas intersect. A less common form is the architectural quatrefoil combined with a square, which is shown in the image on the right.

The Araby mirror by Ironies (made of pieced bone). This is a quatrefoil combined with a square.

Walker Zanger Chapelle Border, from the Avignon Collection

Quatrefoil fabric in silver, Alexander Girard, 1954. This fabric is still made, and comes in several colorways.

Van Cleef & Arpels, from the Alhambra Collection. A favorite of celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon.

The quatrefoil is frequently seen in Gothic architecture. Gothic architecture originated in the 12th century France and lasted into the 16th century; aspects of Gothic architecture were characteristic of the Tudor period in England (1485–1603). This mantle and door were made by Tudor Artisans, an Atlanta company that makes architectural elements common during the Tudor period. Note the quatrefoil in the carving of the fireplace, and in the stone frame of the door.

Stained glass window, Church of St. George, UK

York Minster Cathedral, UK - the quatrefoil is part of traditional Christian symbolism and is commonly found in Gothic style cathedrals

For more inspirational images, please visit Quatrefoil Design.

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  1. Very interesting post. I also have been noticing a lot of Quatrefoil patterns. I just did a post on Moroccan inspiration and was seeing quatrefoil as a dominant theme in Moorish design. Great research you have done for this post.

  2. I found it interesting also. I love the quatrefoil design. Of course it is a classic, but it seems to be gaining traction recently as a trend...I even saw Heidi Klum selling a line of jewelry, most of it featuring quatrefoil design.

  3. You are so right. I read this post this morning before I went shopping and noticed the Quatrefoil design incorporated into more contemporary pieces.

  4. Yes, I think the quatrefoil is one of those shapes that transcends time...so ancient and classic that it can seem modern in the right context.

  5. I will have to start looking now...
    Other than what I learned in my art classes in college (it was my minor), I don't know much. For me it has always been one of those "I know what I like when I see it" kind of things. I have a lot to learn and it seems you blog is a good staring place.
    I do hope you will try the pretzel recipe - they really are delicious. I am off to make a double batch right now.

  6. Great post--very informative and well-researched--it's true that the quatrafoil is everywhere these days--reminds me of Heidi Klum's jewellery designs.

  7. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I have a small translation in english in all my posts. When it's something very local it's smaller than usual. Welcome back!

  8. love the Ironies mirror and Girard fabric :)

  9. Great post - I love this shape, its so classic. Some of the images are not showing up on my computer though - has anyone else had that problem, or is it just me?

  10. What a great site. Pineapple Grove has a great Quatrefoil concrete tile, check out their site. I am looking to design a wall fountain line. Found this site a accident searching quatrefoil shapes. Can use all the help I can get.

  11. I just did a blogsearch on quatrefoil, and this post came up! I love the information.

  12. My business logo is a quatrefoil. I fell in love with it in design school when studying Gothic architecture and its been my favorite shape eve since. I, too, started noticing it everywhere (before it was the surfacing trend it is now- obviously its been on the radar for quite awhile- historic architecture and VCA's Alhambra are just a few examples). Its very classic, and it also spans many styles from Moorish, English, Celtic, Spanish, to French. So beautiful. Its been my logo for a few years now (ever since starting my firm), but I just had a graphic designer redo it (I was using a way more architectural version that looked hand sketched). Anyone can click on my link to see it, if interested. I don't mean to "plug" myself on this blog...but since its about quatrefoils, figured it was content-related.

  13. I just bought a pendant necklace in a quatrefoil design set in sterling silver and with cream enamel and orangey-pinkish sapphire stones. I was looking for a Christian cross that was not ordinary. Here is a link to it. It looks like a stained glass window. Just another example of quatrefoil. By the way, anyone know the correct pronunciation? http://www.ross-simons.com/products/474559.html


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