Solid gold toilet stolen from Blenheim Palace now valued at £4.8 million

Home UK Solid gold toilet stolen from Blenheim Palace now valued at £4.8 million
Solid gold toilet stolen from Blenheim Palace now valued at £4.8 million

WOODSTOCK, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: "America", a fully-working solid gold toilet, created by artist Maurizio Cattelan, is seen at Blenheim Palace on September 12, 2019 in Woodstock, England. The Italian artist is known as the prankster of the art world. His most notable piece being "America" a solid gold usable toilet which had art lovers queuing to use when it was shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The golden toilet was plumbed in and available for guests to use (Picture: Getty Images)

An 18-carat solid gold loo stolen from the birthplace of Winston Churchill has now been valued at £4.8 million.

The fully functioning toilet, named America, installed at an art exhibition at Blenheim Palace, was stolen by a gang of thieves in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Initial reports estimated the sculpture at £1 million, but Blenheim Palace chief executive Dominic Hare said it is worth about $6 million (£4.8 million).

Its creator, Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan is said to be very shaken and shocked by the raid in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

The loo fitted inside a wood-panelled room was plumbed in and available for visitors at the 18th century estate to use.

Significant flood damage was caused after the toilet was ripped from the floor.

Undated handout photo issued by Blenheim Palace of a solid gold toilet, which has been stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. PA Photo. Issue date: Saturday September 14, 2019. The loo - valued at ?1 million and installed as part of an art exhibition at Blenheim Palace - was taken in the early hours of Saturday, Thames Valley Police have confirmed. See PA story POLICE Blenheim. Photo credit should read: Jacopo Zotti (Guggenheim Museum 2016)/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

The loo has been dubbed 1% art for the 99% and was used by more than 100,000 people at New Yorks Guggenheim (Picture: PA)

Mr Hare said: We have a very sophisticated security operation and we have not had an incident like this in living memory.

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The events of the last 24 hours mean we may have reason to reconsider some of our systems.

There is always a risk when you display valuable art to the public, but it is worth that risk, even now, it was still worth that risk.

Mr Hare said he believed Cattelan attended a reception party marking the exhibition launch on Friday night, adding: I understand he is very shaken and shocked.

A 66-year-old man has been arrested over the incident and the palace was closed to the public on Saturday.

The sculpture hit the headlines last year after it was offered to US president Donald Trump by the chief curator of the Guggenheim museum in New York, its former home.

It was installed at the country home of the aristocratic Marlborough family as part of Cattelans exhibition, which began on Thursday.

WOODSTOCK, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: "Daddy, Daddy", a large scale recreation of the drowning Disney character Pinocchio, created by artist Maurizio Cattelan, is seen in a pool at Blenheim Palace on September 12, 2019 in Woodstock, England. The Italian artist is known as the prankster of the art world. His most notable piece being "America" a solid gold usable toilet which had art lovers queuing to use when it was shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

It comes after Edward Spencer-Churchill said it would not be the easiest thing to nick (Picture: Getty Images)

The theft comes after the Duke of Marlboroughs half-brother, Edward Spencer-Churchill, said last month the artwork would not be the easiest thing to nick.

Mr Spencer-Churchill told the Times: Firstly, its plumbed in, and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate.

So no, I dont plan to be guarding it.

Inspector Richard Nicholls from Thames Valley Police said: A group of offenders broke into the palace and stole a high value toilet made out of gold that was on display.

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We believe they used at least two vehicles during the offence and left the scene at around 4.50am.

The artwork has not been recovered at this time, but there is a thorough investigation being carried out.

Inspector Nicholls said Fridays reception party would form part of our inquiries in order to ascertain events leading up to the item being stolen.

Undated handout photo issued by Tom Lindboe/Blenheim Art Foundation of a solid gold toilet, which has been stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. PA Photo. Issue date: Saturday September 14, 2019. The loo - valued at ??1 million and installed as part of an art exhibition at Blenheim Palace - was taken in the early hours of Saturday, Thames Valley Police have confirmed. See PA story POLICE Blenheim. Photo credit should read: Tom Lindboe/Blenheim Art Foundation/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

America was initially valued at $1 million but has since been said to be worth six times that (Picture: PA)

He added that commenting on how the property was accessed would be speculation at the moment.

The golden toilet proved popular at the Guggenheim and has been described by critics as a pointed satire against the excesses of wealth.

Cattelan has previously said: Whatever you eat, Read More – Source