It was the gift of a grateful queen on behalf of the nation to a legendary soldier that ended up being criticised for its immense cost. But not even in the heyday of Queen Anne and the Duke of Marlborough did Blenheim Palace reach the decadent heights of a glittering bathroom. Now, all that has changed, as a golden toilet is to installed in the famous landmark.
It’s actually part of an art exhibition set to take place at Blenheim this autumn. The 18 carat gold toilet will be the star of a display of the work of Maurizio Cattelan. But while the Italian artist will be showcasing several new pieces at the palace in this exhibition, it’s one of his most famous existing creations that is currently grabbing all the headlines.
The toilet has already spent a year sparkling in the Guggenheim Museum in New York where it became a star of Instagram as visitors posed for a photo while balancing on its rather shiny seat. And when the golden toilet arrives at Blenheim Palace, those who come to look at it will also be able to perch for a while. For this work of art is actually a fully functioning loo.
Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill, brother of the present Duke of Marlborough, is bringing the exhibition to the palace through the Blenheim Art Foundation which he set up. He told The Guardian that ‘’it will be an installed, working, usable toilet’’ although he added it hadn’t yet been decided how long visitors would be given to make use of the facilities.
They may find themselves in a rather long queue. The toilet is set to be installed opposite one of the most famous parts of Blenheim Palace, the room where Winston Churchill was born in 1874.
Blenheim Palace was the gift of Queen Anne to John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough as a thank you for his endeavours during the Wars of the Spanish Succession. Churchill and his wife, Sarah, were very close to Queen Anne and the duchess’ relationship with the monarch is the subject of the Oscar winning film, The Favourite. Blenheim, named after one of Churchill’s most famous victories, attracts thousands of visitors every year.
In fact, it welcomed a very famous guest in 2018 who already has a link to the toilet. President Trump was offered the golden loo for the White House when he moved in but declined. And there’s little chance he’ll see it during his State Visit to the UK as he’s already been to Blenheim, enjoying a banquet there last summer given in his honour by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.