United Kingdom

The £2million hippo-potty!

It's a great way to wallow in luxury and dip into art – but it comes at a price. This hippopotamus bathroom suite created by a surrealist sculptor is set to fetch up to £2.2million at auction. 

The set – hailed as a masterpiece by art experts – includes a bath, toilet and bidet crafted in the shape of a mother hippo and two babies. 

It is in full working order and could be plumbed into the home of the highest bidder after the Sotheby's sale in Paris in June. 

This hippopotamus bathroom suite created by a surrealist sculptor is set to fetch up to £2.2million at auction

The copper, metal and bronze hippos were created by French sculptor François-Xavier Lalanne in 1992. 

The mother's mouth opens wide to reveal a sink and vanity unit while the main body features a cosy bath. 

One baby doubles up as a sink and toilet, while the other is a bidet. 

The current anonymous owners have had the suite in their 17th century home on the banks of Lake Geneva in Switzerland since 1996. 

The set – hailed as a masterpiece by art experts – includes a bath, toilet and bidet crafted in the shape of a mother hippo and two babies

As art collectors, they were close to Lalanne and his sculptor wife Claude and asked him to make the unique work. 

Florent Jeanniard, of Sotheby's, said: 'Sitting on the lavatory, one had a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.' 

He added: 'It encapsulates the Lalanne universe – it's sculpture, art, functionality and design all in one. And it is great fun. It's very practical as well as beautiful.' 

The copper, metal and bronze hippos were created by French sculptor François-Xavier Lalanne in 1992

Lalanne, who died aged 81 in 2008, often used animal imagery in furniture. He also created gazelle-shaped tables, a rhino writing desk and sheep stools. 

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld was among his collectors. 

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