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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 five 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

'ooh boy please don't ever turn on me (pretty little boy) / cos it would hurt even worse if you ever ever leave / eventhough sometimes it's hard for me to bare / well if it hurts alright, and if it kills me I don't care / cos baby, these things you're doing to me / it hurts so bad but it's worth all the misery'
Inscription; decoration


Length: 305 cm drop, Width: 56.2 cm

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

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


Black History; Prints; Wall coverings; Installation art


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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