Illustrated Architecture Dictionary
...................... Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

Quatrefoil
(KWAH tri foil)

Architecture

A four-lobed circle or arch formed by cusping

"Foil" is the French word for "leaf." The number of foils involved is indicated by a prefix, e.g. trefoil, quatrefoil, sexfoil, multifoil

Used in windows and arches

Found in Gothic Revival, Tudor Revival styles

Quatrefoils are not the same as shamrocks, though they do have four leaves; the leaves of a quatrefoil are more circular and they appear without the stem of a trefoil, except for very rarely.

Architects placed this symbol on churches to signify that the gospel, the harbinger of peace and immortality, was preached there. The four leaves may also represent the four Evangelists who wrote the gospels.


Furniture

Found in Gothic style furniture.


Examples from Buffalo:

Other examples:


Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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