John Lane Upholstery

In the heart of leafy Norfolk, John Lane has been making and restoring the finest traditional British leather furniture by hand for the past two decades.

John’s history with leather began just outside Norwich at the now-defunct Bally factory, where he – following in his father’s footsteps – began his career in Britain’s once-thriving shoe industry. After starting on the factory floor, John’s myopic eye for detail pushed him into sampling and product development, perfecting designs and handcrafting shoes with leathers produced by some of the finest tanneries of the time. It is here that he developed his lifelong love of working with leather.

From footwear, John moved into the upholstery trade. Having spent some time making furniture for pubs and restaurants in the high-volume contract sector, John moved to a company producing domestic furniture. Over a number of years as an understudy to Master Upholsterers, he learnt the near-forgotten art of traditional furniture making; crafting natural materials by hand in the unscrupulous pursuit of form and function.

While working for a traditional manufacturer in Norwich, John learned the secret to ageing leather by hand. It’s not clear who first discovered this sacred artform, but John is one of very few who keep this practice alive today. Using a combination of dyes, compounds, expertise and experience, John transforms the leather to produce the distinctive aged effect that many have tried – but almost all have failed – to reproduce. Coupled with the knowledge he has learned from years of working with leather, along with his fine art approach to upholstering, John does what others cannot.


Today, working alone, he continues to create masterpieces using these hard-earned techniques from the workshop in his shed, tucked away in the English countryside.

Within John lives the proud history of those who came before him; the distillation of skills of a generation gone but not forgotten. Someone who understands the true meaning and importance of heritage. 

Crest Leather is proud to work with John Lane. You can visit the John Lane website by clicking here.

#mastercraftsmen Follow us on Instagram