Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
From Hogarth’s depictions of chamber pots to Marcel Duchamp’s urinal and Maurizio Cattelan’s gold-plated throne, the humble toilet has frequently featured in art. So it is that on Sunday 19 November, Rakewell will be among those celebrating the annual fixture that is World Toilet Day – and it turns out that he’ll be in good company.
Coinciding with the festivities, the Salisbury Museum is launching an online fundraising drive whereby members of the public will be asked to spend a few pounds (or indeed a penny) towards upgrading the institution’s ageing toilet facilities. The initiative isn’t half as potty as it sounds – the public toilets at the museum, housed in a building that was built in the 13th century as the home of the Abbot of Sherbourne – haven’t been refurbished since the 1980s.
‘Every couple of years our facilities are assessed by Visit England and the one thing that brings our score down each time are the state of our public toilets,’ says director Adrian Green. ‘We can no longer ignore the fact that having top quality loos is as important as top quality exhibitions and an essential part of the visitor experience.’
The museum will also be twinning its WCs with the toilet block of a school in Malawi. It is hoped that the fundraising initiative will raise around £10,000 towards the planned renovations – fingers crossed that the museum ends the campaign, erm, feeling flush…