A toilet made entirely of 18-carat-gold has been stolen from Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England, the stately home where former British prime minister Winston Churchill was born.
The fully functioning toilet was installed as part of an exhibition by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled “Victory is Not an Option,” which only opened to the public on Thursday.
The palace will be closed for the rest of the day, a spokesperson said on Twitter.
According to CNN report, 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. A 66-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the theft.
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, adding, “We believe a group offenders used at least two vehicles during the offense.” “The artwork has not been recovered at this time but we are conducting a thorough investigation to find it and bring those responsible to justice,” Milne continued, appealing for any potential witnesses to contact police.
Titled “America,” the toilet first went on display at the Guggenheim in New York City in 2016. It made headlines again in 2017, after US President Donald Trump’s White House emailed the Guggenheim asking to borrow Vincent Van Gogh’s 1888 painting “Landscape with Snow”; instead, the institution’s curator offered the gold toilet, CNN reported. 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. “His work can make us laugh and quake in turn, with its acerbic comments on the world we live in. I believe that his wry wit, stoicism and fantastical vision are exactly what we need in these times of global flux and uncertainty,” Edward Spencer-Churchill, the current Duke of Marlborough’s half-brother and founder of the Blenheim Art Foundation, said in statement. CNN reported the toilet was due to remain on display until October 27.