AN EXHIBITION featuring portraits of an Italian restaurant's most frequent diners has been launched in Oxford.

The black and white photographs will be on display in Branca in Walton Street for the next four weeks.

The four-week exhibition, named 'The Regulars', features a local barber, an artist, a business owner and a film-maker among others.

Branca waiter Rosario Glorioso, originally from Sicily, created the art work for the restaurant as part of a final degree project before he returns home after 12 years in the city.

The 39-year-old, who has worked at the Walton Street restaurant for four years, said: "Branca has always been a great source of inspiration for my work.

"It's a friendly place where people from all different backgrounds gather together and connect over a coffee or glass of wine.

"There's a big sense of community here and barriers don't exist between staff and customers."

The waiter will return home once he has completed his degree in photography at Westminster University later this year but wanted to leave a parting gift to the city.

He said: "When I sat down to photograph the customers, many told me their life stories and there was a great sense of empathy between us.

"I have been in Oxford for 12 years and I'm fond of the British culture and way of life.

"As I'm about to leave I wanted to give something back to the city before I go."

After a private viewing earlier this week, the exhibition of portraits will remain in the restaurant's bar area for the next four weeks.

Film-maker and retired architect Peter Winchester was one of those photographed.

The 80-year-old from North Oxford, who set up a charity for poor women in rural India and made a film to raise money, said: "He really managed to capture my spirit and the essence of Jericho life in the photograph.

"He's a serious photographer and the pictures are very powerful."

Branca owner Paul Petrillo said: "I'm thrilled he has chosen Branca customers as his inspiration.

"It's great to bring an exhibition together to represent different layers of Jericho life.

"Rosario has worked here for four years and is hugely value member of the Branca team, He will be missed when he returns to Sicily."