|Bigg entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1778. He also studied under Edward Penny, RA (1755–1828), who probably encouraged Bigg to pursue his choice of subject matter of conversation pieces and genre themes, which often included an improving message. His work was very popular in the late 18th Century and was often reproduced in coloured engravings.|
Bigg’s popularity was probably due to the reassuring and pleasing view he presented of peasant life. The inhabitants of the ancient cottage in Cottagers are depicted as virtuous and productive. Evidence of their hard work is demonstrated by the various produce included, such as the eggs and cabbage by the door. Although the cottage is simple the man also has time to improve its appearance by tying up the roses by the door.