In our current issue Esclarmonde Monteil, curator at the Musée de la Toile de Jouy, shook the foundations of our textiles knowledge when she told us the term "Toile de Jouy" does not just apply to the beautiful pastoral monochrome designs that we all know and love. Christopher-Philippe Oberkampf, the German-born son of a dye-maker, founded the printed cotton manufactory in the small town of Jouy-en-Josas near Versailles from which these textiles would take their name. But, Monteil explains, Fame has given us a distorted idea of Oberkampf’s production – a few hundred narrative patterns completely overshadow thousands of others. The floral patterns are known to connoisseurs but the geometric and stylised ones are seldom associated with Jouy. These patterns are quite astonishing. We know them through two sources: the commercial letters of the manufactory and the “Memorial” – a book written in the middle of the 19th century. The first “indiennes” printed in Jouy were “mignonettes” – small patterns printed on mixed textiles of cotton and linen, woven in the Beaujolais region. The manufactory could not produce enough of these cheap prints. According to G. Widmer they were then, and always, the main source of revenue. Another simple pattern was invented around 1778; “la natte”, an imitation of woven straw matting. It was designed to make slipcovers for furniture but was soon adopted as hangings and wall coverings. It was easy to produce since it used only two blocks and two colours and was copied as late as 1854. At the beginning of the 19th century, Jouy adopted yet another technical innovation, the copper roller. Samuel Widmer, also a nephew, invented a way to mechanically engrave the copper roller, reducing engraving time from six months to six days. They could then produce a type of mignonette with delicate tiny patterns impossible to create by hand. This new process was so perfect that Jouy created a new genre of patterns, the “miniature”. So many patterns were created in Jouy that it is almost impossible to know all of them. Scholars are trying to build an overview but no global catalogue remains to provide a clear overview. Instead dots, losanges, stripes and flowers are known only through clippings pasted to letters from Oberkampf’s dealers. And from these pretty scraps a patchwork of knowledge is being stitched together. There's even more to learn about the history of this surprisingly varied fabric – V&A Curator Sarah Grant outlines its creation and Sarah Jane Downing visits the Toile Museum. Why not subscribe and receive this issue as your first? Today we're offering 50% off a 6 month continuous subscription £24.75 £12.37 in the UK (overseas prices vary) with the code ‘curious toile’.