A N450million (£1m) solid gold toilet has been stolen from Blenheim Palace by burglars in an overnight robbery, police said today.
The 18ct lavatory, designed by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, was part of a new exhibition at the country home where Winston Churchill was born, and was ripped out and driven away in the early hours of Saturday morning, The Telegraph reports.
The piece is called “America”, and had had been plumbed into the water system so that visitors could fully engage with the artwork, as long as they obeyed a three-minute time slot.
Police have arrested a 66-year-old man in connection with the theft, but confirmed that the golden toilet is still missing and that there was “significant damage and flooding”.
Thames Valley Police received a report of the toilet’s theft at 4:57 a.m. Saturday morning. The thieves left the scene at about 4:50 a.m., according to a statement posted online.
Detective Inspector Jess Milne said in the statement:
“Due to the toilet being plumbed in to the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding. We believe a group offenders used at least two vehicles during the offense.”
At Blenheim Palace, the toilet was installed in a room next to the one in which Churchill was born. A statement announcing the exhibition said the work could be perceived as a comment on the social, political and economic disparities in the United States, CNN reports.