Cartouches are ornamental appointments applied to Classical and Beaux Arts facades.  They typically feature a circular, oval or shield shaped object that often provides an inscription or coat of arms, and is surrounded by elaborate scroll frames, volutes, swags, brackets and other classical ornamentation.  Cartouches are seldom seen in contemporary architecture, and when they are used, it is usually an item that is selected out of an architectural ornament catalogue such as Outwater or Decorators Supply.  Hopefully, the cartouche selected from the catalogue fits the application, but more often than not, it doesn’t.  If a cartouche is desired, and there is not one that can be specified directly from a catalogue, then the architect must design an appropriate cartouche that will be fabricated by a skilled artisian.  Very few architects are capable of designing cartouches, so here is a practice exercise I did where I designed several cartouches.

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