Natural Characteristics of Leather

Leather is a natural product with all that this implies, shade, grain variations and natural markings add to its charm. Each hide has its own characteristics. These are emphasised and encouraged. Features such as origin breed, age and sex of animal all help. Growth marks and bruises are commonplace on leather furniture and it is this ‘vital’ something which distinguishes leather from the substitutes that attempt to copy. We stress these markings are features, not faults in leather.

Natural Markings

The marks which we consider are natural to leather, are the following:

Warble Fly Marks
Although most of our hides are of European origin, cattle are still attacked by insects that can leave marks of their bite. These occur as tiny marks on the surface.

These are caused in many ways, often because of barbed wire fences. As withhumans the scars heal but often leave fine lines. The healed scars are not to beconfused with open scars that are automatically rejected during manufacturing.

These normally appear in neck areas of the hide. They can, because of their heavy grain, look attractive in prominent positions on furniture, although ingeneral, unless we intend to make a specific feature of them, we either discardthe area or place it where it will not distract.

*None of the characteristics have a weakening effect on the hide. They are purely surface variations.




Care of Leather

Detergents, spirit cleaners and furniture polish should never be used nor should products formulated for hide products be used on suede. Avoid exposing your furniture to prolonged sunlight as even the strongest colours may fadeunder that condition. In a dry climate or in an environment where a fireplace isfrequently used, give more attention to your hide furniture. Your hide furniture is best maintained following these instructions.

If spillage occurs, mop up quickly with an absorbent pad, then carry on with your normal hide treatment, which is as follows:

1) Using warm water, and very mild soap flakes, work up clean suds on a soft, clean, damp cloth, free from fluff and wipe down the leather surface.

2) Using a clean, damp cloth and fresh water only, repeat the operation. 3) Wipe the leather dry.
4) Allow to dry and polish with a soft, clean, dry cloth.


Fillings for cushions and arms are also much softer and luxurious, departing from the older hard packed materials.

The combination of these two factors means that during the first few weeksof use, creases and wrinkles will form naturally in the leather. These are quite normal and should cause no concern. They are designed into the furniture to give it that soft inviting look which is an inherent quality of the best modern leather upholstery. If cushions are detachable plump them up everyweek or so to keep the fillings in their fullest shape.




Cleaning Instructions

1) Fabrics, because of their texture, tend to harbour dust especially in the horizontal surfaces. Brushing lightly each week can prevent this.

2) Spilt liquid should be absorbed immediately with a tissue. A slightly damp cloth may be used to revive the texture of the fabric. Use of a cleaningfluid or detergent, however mild, can cause colour loss and should only be used sparingly. Always test the mixture on an unexposed area of fabric first,but preferably, consult a professional dry cleaning specialist such as Service Master for all cleaning of upholstery.

Care and Maintenance

Avoid exposure to direct or prolonged sunlight, as even the lightest of colours may fade under extreme conditions.

All removable seat and back cushions should be regularly plumped up, and if covered on both sides, turned regularly to even wear and maintain their shape.Feather / fibre filled cushions should be shaken / plumped every day to maintaintheir shape.

The use of zips on cushions cases is primarily to give a neat and tidy finish tothe cushion case. They are not there for the purpose of removing the cases forwashing unless specifically stated on attached swing ticket.

All cushion interiors are designed to give a soft and comfortable sit and therefore,during the first few weeks of use, natural creases and wrinkles will form. Theseshould not be seen as defects but merely as natural characteristics of your new furniture.

Wooden bases, plinths, facings, feet and trimmings require careful handling and cleaning. And like other natural products, there may be variations in colour, texture, grain and surface details




Your furniture has been designed to sit on in comfort, so use it correctly for that purpose. Sitting on the edge of your cushions or on the arms may cause distortion or permanent wear. Sharp objects such as toys, jewellery, buckles and heels can cause unsightly damage. Especially do not allow domestic animals to claw or climb on the upholstery. Also discourage your children from using your furniture to demonstrate their gymnastic abilities!

Nothing lasts forever, even your upholstery will wear out in time but we hopeyou will find this information helpful. If you follow the advice we have given in this leaflet then your furniture should be a continued source of pride to you.

If in doubt about any of the above then please seek professional advice. We regret we will not be liable for defects caused though noncompliancewith the recommendations contained in this leaflet.

*Categories of Leather

Corrected Grain
As many hides have a high percentage of natural occurrences like scars, tears, and other defects,this makes them unsuitable for full and semi aniline tanning. To remove the imperfections, firstly the hides are buffed or sanded, then embossed to restore a natural looking grain pattern, and finallya protective topcoat is applied. Ideal for everyday living, corrected grain leathers are the most economical grade of leather.

Semi Aniline
From the initial tanning process, the natural top grain leather is left intact. Natural marks, scars andcolour variations are a feature of these leathers. Leathers are firstly drum dyed in penetrating anilinedyes, then a thin matching top coat is applied to even out the colour. This top coat also protects against fading and staining, yet still displays the leathers natural characteristics. A typical selection for high-energy family use.

Full Aniline
This is the most natural way to have leather. Only premium hides with the best colour and texture are selected for this process. Soft and velvety they are a pleasure to touch, no natural features have been removed, and all distinctive markings stand out. As these hides have a light transparentfinal topcoat or finish, the result is a luxurious look and feel, however it will make the hides moresusceptible to staining and fading, more care is required.




At Alexander & James we love to dress our sofas in the finest fabrics.From earthy British wools to lively fresh linens and buttery leathers, we encourage you to mix and match pattern, texture and colour
to make stylish and individual combinations for your home.

Call to discuss your fabric needs!

01200 441230