Philip Astley: His Life and Legacy

Brampton Museum

5 May – 15 July 2018

Meet the father of the modern circus and discover how his legacy lives on in the entertainment industry today.

The Philip Astley Statue

In 1768, the skilled equestrian and ‘trick-rider’ Philip Astley began entertaining crowds by riding in a circle and, almost inadvertently, invented the modern circus.

He was the first to include other performers in his show, such as clowns and acrobats, and has gone down in history as an international superstar and cultural innovator.

To celebrate his life and legacy, this exhibition looks at his early years in the town where he was born, and considers how those experiences drew him towards his later career. Including six original drawings, engravings and prints on loan from the V&A, it also explores his influence on the performing arts right up to the present day.

This exhibition is supported by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund.

Venue information

Opening times

26 March 2017 – 29 October 2017

Monday to Saturday – 10am to 5.30pm
Sunday – 2pm to 5.30pm


30 October 2017 – 25 March 2018

Monday to Saturday – 10am to 4.30pm
Sunday – 1pm to 4.30pm

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)