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Lover's Rock

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    1998 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Boyce, Sonia, born 1962 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Blind embossing on wallpaper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 514a, case SH, shelf 34

At the age of 25 Sonia Boyce became the first black woman to have her work purchased by the Tate Gallery for its collection. Her work addresses issues of identity and the relationship between public and private space. References to domesticity are often made through the use of wallpaper.

In this piece Boyce uses blind embossing – stamping an impression into the paper, leaving raised areas – to create the image, which is the text of a popular song, ‘Hurt So Good’ (1975) by Susan Cadogan. Boyce intends the paper to evoke the experience of West Indian house parties, where couples dance together, leaving the wallpaper faintly marked where they press against it. These marks she sees as evidence of their physical and emotional engagement with the place and the music, and of the intensity of love itself, sensual but sometimes painful.

Physical description

Blind-embossed wallpaper, part one of a set of six

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)


1998 (made)


Boyce, Sonia, born 1962 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Blind embossing on wallpaper

Marks and inscriptions

'first you take my heart in the palm of your hand and squeeze it tight then you take my mind and play with it all night / you take my pride and you throw it up against the wall / then you take me in your arms and tease me till I roll up in a ball I'm not complaining on what you're doing you see cos this hurting feeling is oh so good to me'
Inscription; decoration


Length: 305 cm drop, Width: 56.2 cm roll

Descriptive line

Blind embossed wallpaper, one of six drops, 'Lover's Rock', Sonia Boyce, 1998

Production Note

The work was made while Boyce was artist in Residence at the University of Manchester, which has a fine collection of historic wallpapers in the Whitworth Art Gallery.




Blind embossing

Subjects depicted

Music; Love; Visibility; Dancing; Presence; Absence; Sexuality; Invisibility


Installation art; Prints; Wall coverings; Black History


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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