rose window

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Related to rose window: Plate tracery, Bar tracery

rose window,

large, stone-traceried, circular window of medieval churches. Romanesque churches of both England and the Continent had made use of the wheel window—a circular window ornamented by shafts radiating from a small center circle; and from this prototype developed the elaborate rose windows. The latter, in their full development, flourished especially in France, where they appear in practically every important Gothic cathedral, either over the center portal of the west front or on at least one of the transept ends. Stained glass was usually placed in them. The early examples, as on the west facade of the cathedral at Chartres (12th–13th cent.), were filled with plate tracerytracery,
bands or bars of stone, wood, or other material, either subdividing an opening or standing in relief against a wall and forming an ornamental pattern of solid members and open spaces.
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, pierced from a stone slab. With the perfection of bar tracery, the typical rose, as in the cathedral at Reims (13th–14th cent.) and in Notre-Dame de Paris (12th–14th cent.), was filled with numerous radiating bars and intermediate bars, joining to form pointed arches at the outer edge. In the final or flamboyant period the bars were arranged in wavy curves and more intricate patterns. This rich and closely packed tracery, as in the fine transept window of St. Ouen at Rouen, suggests the design of an open rose.

rose window

A large, circular medieval window, containing tracery arranged in a radial manner.
See also: French window

Rose Window


a circular window found in Romanesque and especially Gothic structures dating from the 12th to the 15th century. The window has a system of stone bars radiating from the center of the circle. “Rose window” is also the term for a similar decorative motif that crowns lancet windows of Gothic buildings.


Dow, H. J. “The Rose Window.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 1957, vol. 20, nos. 3–4, pp. 248–97.

rose window, Catherine-wheel window, marigold window, wheel window

rose window
A large, circular medieval window, containing tracery disposed in a radial manner.

rose window

a circular window, esp one that has ornamental tracery radiating from the centre to form a symmetrical roselike pattern
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