John Nixon (c.1750-1818)
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John Nixon (c.1750-1818)

A Margate Hoy unloading her cargo

Details
John Nixon (c.1750-1818)
A Margate Hoy unloading her cargo
signed and indistinctly dated 'John Nixon fecit et Invt ...' (lower right)
pencil, black ink and watercolour
16 5/8 x 24 5/8 in. (42.3 x 62.5 cm.)
Provenance
with Aldridge Bros., Worthing.
Exhibited
London, Royal Academy, 1781, no. 520.
Special notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis

Lot Essay

Nixon's exact connections with Ireland are not known but he is thought possibly to have come from either Belfast or Co. Carlow. What is certain is that he worked with his brother Richard, an Irish merchant in London and travelled regularly in both north and south Ireland. They lived a life of riotous conviviality as well as being respectable businessmen. Nixon was a great friend of Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) whose influence can be seen in both his later drawing style and in his capacity to capture expressions, a talent that led him to excell at caricature. The strong characterisation and impressive scale of the present drawing is a result of it being Nixon's first submission to the Royal Academy and would certainly have made an impact on visitors with its depictions of dandys and hairdressers and parcels addressed to 'Mr Sneer, the Square, Margate', 'Lady Changeside, Mitcheners' and 'Miss Conquest, Margate'.

A similar watercolour showing Irish characters is illustrated in A. Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, The Watercolours of Ireland, London, 1994, p. 76, pl. 92. The watercolour, depicting a rowdy street scene outside St Patrick's Cathedral, was sold at Sotheby's London, 21 May 1999, lot 259.
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