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 and, as we can see in the present watercolour, they were involved in the theatrical and musical worlds. 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 present drawing with its neat draftsmanship and careful colouring is typical of Nixon's finished watercolours.
A watercolour showing similar 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 (£43,300).