No dona eis requiem: Another 1840 Tate Gallery GIF Party Submission

"1870 Rehearsing the Service: No dona eis Requiem" animated GIF by aforgrave

“1870 Rehearsing the Service: No dona eis Requiem” animated GIF by aforgrave

The original image is “Rehearsing the Service” from 1870 by Alphonse Legros, and is one of the images open for interpretation in the Tate Britain1840s GIF Party: Call for Submissions.

I had to wrap my brain around taking some kind of a different approach to get a GIF out of this image. I knew that something was in there, and it was by viewing the original image through the irreverent lense of Terry Gilliam and Monty Python that resulted in this little endeavour.

For those not familiar with the antecedent, we need look no further than the venerable You Tube: The following clip was kind enough to provide me with a subtitled transcription, which helped a lot.

Rather than going with a simple text bubble as I originally envisioned, I sourced an image via the Google (“illustrated manuscript images”) of a page from a $40,000 manuscript on the Christie’s Auction site (BOOK OF HOURS AND PRAYERBOOK, in Dutch, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM AND PAPER) and replaced the existing text with the monk’s speech using a font called GregorianFLF by Casady & Greene on

The final .psd file has on the order of 20 layers — the background (hands of both removed), a three layers for each of the left and right hands for the singer, the singers mouth, two layers for the eyes, three layers for the hands & book, a layer for the extended arms (I took a clipping from the cloak and extended it using the clone tool), a layer for the manuscript, 2 for the text, and a couple utility layers to mask out things that weren’t needed at various points.

At 256 colours, 35 final frames, and a 600 pixel width, the GIF weighs in at 568 KB — which I can live with for an enhanced Piece of Art.

Saved out at the original image width of 1536 pixels, the larger GIF is a bit more massive:

• LINK to the full-size (1536 pixels wide) version of the GIF (2.9 MB).


The Tate Gallery 1840 GIF Party submission deadline is fast approaching, February 2nd.  I’m looking forward to seeing the sharing of the submissions following the February 7th adjudication.