Guest post by "Painton Cowen"

Gerhard has some fine photographs of rose windows on this website. I have been photographing rose windows for over 40 years and they still never cease to fascinate me.

Many early Romanesque wheel windows are often carved with great intricacy; the fine rose-wheel at Schwaebisch Gmuend is a good example of the type

Oculus windows that preceded wheels and roses never quite died out and some exotic examples can be found in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
Rose windows began to be adopted in churches and cathedrals especially in northern France from the mid twelfth century. The west rose at St Denis is often cited as the first - it is certainly one of the earliest
The north rose at Laon is the earliest of the giant roses
The beautiful east window with its much thinner tracery appeared soon afterwards
It is roughly contemporary with the great west window at Chartres
While the transept roses at Chartres were being built the abbey at St. Denis was developing the Rayonnant phase of the Gothic and this appears in the large transept rose windows of the abbey in the 1230s
Rose windows in a similar style appeared at Notre Dame in Paris a few decades later but even bigger
This model became the favourite for large buildings and cathedrals, such as Tours cathedral and these examples of the mid thirteenth century represent the finest examples of the species
New designs appeared around the year 1300 such as the north rose at Sées
and at Magdeburg;

More examples of this kind can be seen at

Windows thereafter evolve through the fourteenth century with intricate geometrical designs, then through the ever-curving Flamboyant in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
(exlp: Bordeaux)
Thereafter some of the more adventurous windows take on an almost Baroque flavour. In Majorca there is a magnificent collection of rose windows created over the past 600 years or so
Some may be even older such as this rare plate tracery rose window in Majorca
In Italy the wheel theme is a favourite, as for example this beautiful rose at Orvietto
.... and at the church of St. Francis in Assisi.
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