Zoomorphic Interlace Initial And Display Capitals, In A Collection Of Riddles And Other Works, By St. Tatwin, St. Aldhelm, And Others f.23v
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Collections of riddles were known in Classical Antiquity, but in the Middle Ages were especially popular in Anglo-Saxon England. Some of them have still never been solved. Collections in this manuscripts are attributed to St. Tatwin, archbishop of Canterbury (d. 734), and St. Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury and Bishop of Sherborne (d. 709). Although it was probably written at Canterbury, this manuscript was seen in the library of Glastonbury Abbey in the 16th century, and had probably been there for most of the Middle Ages.
The design of this initial 'U' is unusual because, in addition to the more common lion and bird heads, it incorporates a horned animal's head, perhaps intended as a stag.