Moorland and merciless mountains might be the bête noire of the Tour de France cyclists for the next 21 days, but how have artists represented or interpreted the terrain or towns that the cyclists will be passing through? Can the route of the Tour de France be mapped through works of art?

A number of artists in Tate’s art collection have made works that relate to the locations or type of terrain that feature in the route of the epic race. Representing the entire route through art was a challenge, but through Google Maps and the Tate collection, we bring you some of the English and French legs of the Tour de France mapped through art.

Tour de France Art Map
Tour de France Art Map. View it online

Stage one of the race saw the competitors cycling from Leeds to Harrogate and we have charted this initial part of the route here. See more of the Tour de France art route on the Tour de France Art Map.

At 11.10, stage one began in Leeds and here is the city’s market depicted by Harold Gilman.

Harold Gilman, 'Leeds Market' c.1913
Harold Gilman
Leeds Market c.1913
Oil paint on canvas
support: 508 x 610 mm
frame: 690 x 790 x 75 mm
Presented by the Very Rev. E. Milner-White 1927

By 12.33, cyclists passed through Addingham, here’s Turner’s Addingham Mill.

Turner's Addingham Mill on the Wharfe
Joseph Mallord William Turner, Addingham Mill on the Wharfe, c.1815–20
© Manchester City Galleries

After two hours of cycling at, 13.27, cyclists passed through the village of Buckden, depicted beautifully in a storm here by Piper, then they’re straight into the first big climb.

John Piper, 'Buckden in a Storm' 1977
John Piper
Buckden in a Storm 1977
Screenprint on paper
image: 578 x 851 mm
Presented by Rose and Chris Prater 1978© The Piper Estate

At 14.52, another climb takes place on Grinton Moor and here is Turner’s Grinton in a sketchbook.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Grinton, Looking West' 1816
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Grinton, Looking West 1816
Pencil on paper
support: 154 x 96 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

By 15.50, cyclists continue through Ripon, here is Ripon Minster on the Rivers Ure and Skell. The cyclists will ride near and also cross over River Ure pictured here.

after Thomas Girtin, 'The Rivers of England ('River Scenery'): Ripon Minster on the Rivers Ure and Skell, engraved by T. Lupton' 1825
after Thomas Girtin
The Rivers of England ('River Scenery'): Ripon Minster on the Rivers Ure and Skell, engraved by T. Lupton 1825
Mezzotint on paper
image: 147 x 224 mm
Purchased 1987

Towards 16.16, cyclists approached the final town of Harrogate, and Knaresborough castle would be in the distance. Here’s Peter de Wint’s Knaresborough Castle.

Peter De Wint, 'Knaresborough Castle' date not known
Peter De Wint
Knaresborough Castle date not known
Watercolour on paper
support: 283 x 448 mm
Bequeathed by John Henderson 1879

See more art on the Tour de France Art Map


Rebecca Ward's picture

Tate curator Tim Batchelor has emailed me with some additional suggestions for the Essex route of the Tour de France, which I'll share here:

'Lucian Pissaro, the son of the more famous Impressionist Camille, lived in Epping and painted this scene here. The High Street in Epping was the location for the first sprint section of stage 3:'

And also,

'These companion views show the house and estate of Copped Hall, just outside Epping as you enter the forest - the lands of the estate bordering the route. Of these two, the 'from the park' view has just gone up on display as part of the Walk through British Art in room 1730 at Tate Britain:'