One of the meanings of the word ‘floss’ is fine silk in spun strands not twisted together. I was looking this up because apparently the hangings in the Cut-Velvet Dressing Room at Hardwick Hall are made of ‘flossy silk’ – and they look rather good.
Another meaning of ‘flossy’ is ‘showy or overdressed’. I suppose these hangings are quite showy, but in the context of Hardwick, which was all about show when it was built in the late sixteenth century, they don’t look out of place.
In fact much in this room, including the silk hangings, dates from the late seventeenth century, when the 1st Duke of Devonshire created two new apartments on the first floor at Hardwick, one for his wife and one for himself. But of course this is not really surprising in a many-layered house such as Hardwick.
Even the name ‘Cut-Velvet Dressing Room’ is layered in a characteristically country house way. There is no cut-velvet in this particular room, and the name actually refers to the fact that it is the dressing room to the Cut-Velvet Bedroom next door. The splendid cut-velvet bed in that room, in turn, was a relatively late addition, having been brought to Hardwick by the 6th Duke of Devonshire in the nineteenth century.