1)  In ancient Egypt a rectangular frame with rounded ends used to enclose the name of a king or queen.

Cartouche of HatrshepsutCartouche of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut (1507-1458 BCE).

2)  A carved tablet or frame, often bearing an inscription.


Dedicatory inscription  in a cartouche. Trinity Green Almshouses, London. 1695.