Just two days after it was installed, the solid gold toilet was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. The toilet, which is the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, was previously being shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York with no issues.
The Daily Beast reported that one man, 66, is in custody, but he couldn’t have worked alone. The palace, which is decorated with treasures and mementos related to the late, great prime minister, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated west of London.
Thames Valley Police Detective Inspector Jess Milne released a statement confirming that the toilet is still missing.
“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.”
The toilet (valued at $1.25 million) was not just decorative, as it was installed into the palace’s plumbing system, which was damaged in the theft, according to AP News. Police shared that the robbery took place Saturday in the early hours, using at least two vehicles. Because the toilet was integrated into the plumbing system, the water damage caused by the removal was “significant,” including flooding in the venue which is open to the public daily.
A representative from Blenheim Palace stated that they are “saddened” by the theft but “relieved no one was hurt.” The main building remains closed for the day, but the grounds will be open to visitors. They plan for Sunday to be business as usual, with the museum, gift shop, and cafe opening for visitors.
The Blenheim Palace Twitter account is asking the public to please contact the police if they saw anything.
“If anyone knows or saw anything suspicious in connection with the event that may help us secure its return please contact Thames Valley Police.”
The palace expressed gratitude for the Thames Valley Police for their quick response and “brave reaction,” but are disappointed that the Maurizio Cattelan work is gone, as they know there was a great interest to see his sculpture.
The Inquisitr has reported that it’s not unusual for priceless artwork to be displayed in the various palaces around the United Kingdom, so this theft has come as a shock.
Buckingham Palace had an exhibition this summer to share part of the collection of Queen Victoria which has never been seen by the public. The works were assembled in honor of the 200th anniversary of the queen’s birth.