French Inspiration: Quatrefoil

In honor of Bastille Day tomorrow, I’m paying homage to quatrefoil today!

In art, architecture, and traditional symbolism, the quatrefoil is a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape that forms the overall outline of four partially overlapping circles of the same diameter. Most believe the quatrefoil represents a flower with four petals, but the shape has had different meanings throughout history and in different cultures.

Much of history’s architecture took its inspiration from the quatrefoil, whose roots stem from the Renaissance and Gothic eras. With a look that is classic and modern, it has become known as a symbol of harmony and symmetry. It looks like a four leaf clover as well, and projects a feeling of “good luck” or fortune. Above are some common forms - first with more overlap, then less overlap and, finally, with barbs. And here are a few patterns that use the quatrefoil:

In ancient architecture, the quatrefoil is easy to spot. Take a look:

The quatrefoil can be used today to give large and small spaces a French feel. 

Quatrefoils are so popular that they can be used anywhere: lamps, mirrors, backsplash, rugs, windows, furniture, textiles. 

Where have you seen these lovely and timeless shapes? Take a look at my Pinterest page to see more of the examples that I’ve found to inspire my work.





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