Visitors to Oxford's Malmaison hotel who have been impressed by some of the striking photography on show now have the chance to see a lot more of it.

For 50 years, acclaimed photographer Peter Lavery has followed and documented circuses around the UK and Ireland, capturing backstage moments of introspection, vulnerability and the reality of nomadic lifestyles.

A small sample can be seen at the hotel in the city's Castle Quarter but the work is now reaching a wider audience as part of a national initiative.

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the circus in the UK – where it is also said to have originated when entertainment impresario and entrepreneur Philip Astley began putting on shows at Halfpenny Hatch in London in 1768.

Circus250 is celebrating with a range of events, including a touring exhibition of Lavery's work.

His monochrome prints, taken between 1970 and 1996, are exhibited alongside colour photography from his latest series of circus works, many featuring Oxfordshire favourite Giffords Circus.

Shot on a large plate camera, Lavery’s portraits document the ebb and flow of the fortunes of the circus in the UK with the theatrical glamour of the performer juxtaposed against backstage realism.

Peter Lavery: 50 Years of Circus Portraits is part of Sawdust and Sequins – a major touring exhibition.

A stunning 300 page book Circus Work (1968-2018) by Peter Lavery, published by Handheld Image, £60, is available from the photographer's website.