Illustrated Architecture Dictionary .......... Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary
TREE foil, tref oil
A three-lobed circle or arch formed by cusping
Used in windows and arches
In French, "foil" means "leaf." The number of foils involved is indicated by a prefix, e.g. trefoil, quatrefoil, cinquefoil, sexfoil, multifoil
Found in Gothic Revival, Tudor Revival styles
A trefoil combined with an equilateral triangle was a moderately common symbol of the Christian Trinity during the late Middle Ages in some parts of Europe.
A stylized shamrock,
symbol of perpetuity, with the three leaves representing the past, present and future. It is also sometimes a symbol of fertility and abundance.
In Christian contexts it is used as a symbol for the Holy Trinity. As such it is often placed within a circle.
An architectural term for an arrangement of three interconnecting arcs; at each intersection there is a cusp.
In furniture the motif (pattern) was often applied to pierced arches and trefoil feet.
Examples from Buffalo:
- Illustration above: St. Teresa RC Church
- St. Mary of Sorrows / King Urban Life Center
- Minot Tanner House Balustrade
- Thomas Crane Monument Trefoil arch
- 295 Depew Ave. Trefoil arch
- Buffalo Seminary Trefoil arch
- Central Park United Methodist Church Trefoil blind arches
- St. John's United Evangelical Church / St. John's United Church of Christ Stained glass
- Furniture: Splat, Boston Chippendale side chair - Winterthur Museum Trefoil arch