A cartouche or cartouch is an oval design with a slightly convex surface, typically edged with ornamental scrollwork. It is used to hold a painted or low relief design.
In Early Modern design, since the early 16th century, the cartouche is a scrolling frame device, derived originally from Italian cartoccia. Such cartouches are characteristically stretched, pierced and scrolling (illustration, left). Another cartouche figures prominently in the title page of Giorgio Vasari's Lives, framing a minor vignette with a device of pierced and scrolling papery cartoccia.