'The Boules Player' – Leeds, England - Atlas Obscura

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'The Boules Player'

This sculpture celebrates a boules tournament and the link between Leeds and its twin city Lille. 


As the world moved past the millennium, sculptor Roger Burnett created a work of art to mark the annual Northern Pétanque Colliers CRE Cup. The sculpture was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Leed’s twin city Lille.

The bronze sculpture itself showcases a flat-capped, French boules player in the midst of a throw, while a family of three overlooks the game.

It appears that the sculpture was a difficult assignment for Burnett, especially when it came to designing the family as he noted in his diary, 

“I’ve moved them through every position imaginable: standing, sitting, leaning, squatting, huddled together, set apart. I’ve added figures and switched males for females. My couple - for that’s what I finished up with - then gave birth to a child.”

Next to the statues is a full-sized pétanque (boules) court. There is an information board providing the basic rules of pétanque. 

Know Before You Go

The sculpture can be found in an enclosed square, so it's best to park in one of the car parks and proceed on foot. 

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May 20, 2021

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