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Lover's Rock

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (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 two of a set of six.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1998 (made)


Boyce, Sonia, born 1962 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Blind embossing on wallpaper

Marks and inscriptions

'oh don't you know that it hurts so good/don't you know that it hurts so good/you know that it hurts so good/it hurts so good'
Inscription; decoration; centre of drop approx.; 1998


Length: 305 cm sheet, Width: 56 cm sheet, Height: 14 cm embossed area, Width: 47.8 cm embossed area

Descriptive line

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

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Sonia Boyce, Christine Woods, Andrea Mackean 'Wallpaper' in: Crinson, Mark. Annotations: Sonia Boyce: Performance.IVA, 1998
Miles, Rosemary. '1998 Sonia Boyce' in: Timmers, Margaret, ed. Impressions of the 20th Century. London: V&APublications, 2001.

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.

Attribution note: due to production difficulties very few duplicates of the original printing were produced.




Blind embossing

Subjects depicted

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


Black History; Prints; Wall coverings; Installation art

Production Type

Limited edition


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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