Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 October 2019

Gold toilet stolen from British stately home

Maurizio Cattelan's 18-carat work worth more than $1m was on display for just two days before it was taken

An 18-carat gold toilet created by artist Maurizio Cattelan has been stolen from a British stately home.

The fully-functioning artwork, named America, had only been on display for two days when it was ripped out of its exhibition space by a group using potentially two vehicles, police said.

It was reported stolen at about 5am on Saturday.

The amount of gold used to create the toilet is estimated to be worth over $1 million (Dh3.67m).

"The piece of art that has been stolen is a high-value toilet made out of gold that was on display at the palace,” Det Insp Jess Milne said.

"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 had been installed alongside other items made by the Italian artist, with visitors being able to view and use the installation opposite the room in which former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was born.

Mr Cattelan’s most famous work drew thousands at New York’s Guggenheim museum.

Blenheim Palace, which was closed Saturday morning, said it was working with police and encouraged people to visit the remaining items in the exhibition.

"We knew there was huge interest in the Maurizio Cattelan contemporary art exhibition, with many set to come and enjoy the installations,” Blenheim Palace said on Twitter.

“It’s therefore a great shame an item so precious has been taken, but we still have so many fascinating treasures in the Palace and the remaining items of the exhibition to share.”

Police have arrested a 66-year-old man in connection with the theft, which flooded an area of the Unesco World Heritage Site.

Updated: September 15, 2019 12:12 PM

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