BIGG, After William Redmore (1755-1828)
Saturday morning Favorite Chickens going to market; Saturday evening The Husbandman's return from labour
London: J. Brydone, 4 January 1797; 31 January 1795. Stipple engravings, printed in colours, by Thomas Burke (the first) or William Nutter, after Bigg. (Expert marginal repairs). Image size (including text): 18 1/2 x 22 1/2 inches approx. Sheet size: 20 7/8 x 24 1/4 inches and smaller.
A fine pair of colour-printed stipple engravings: rural idylls in 18th-century England.
In the first a family is seen outside the front door of their house set in a largely wooded landscape. The two eldest children prepare for the trip to market. The boy feeds the donkey, whilst his sister gestures to her younger sister to pass her the last of four chickens she is putting in a basket ready for the journey. The two youngest daughters are comforted by their mother as they mourn the imminent departure of their 'pets'. The second image shows a family outside the door of their cottage in a similar setting to the first image. The father has just returned from the field. His wife hands him his youngest child, who he kisses fondly. His other four children are gathered companionably to his left: the eldest daughter sits quietly darning some stockings, her younger sister washes a younger brother. A second brother watches attentively as a pair of piglets eat the scraps from a wicker basket.
William Bigg "was a pupil of Edward Penny, R.A., and by choice of his subjects at least a faithful follower of his master. In 1778 he entered the Academy schools. Bigg delighted in depicting... children. The first of many engaging works of this class was exhibited in 1778, 'Schoolboys giving Charity to a Blind Man.' It was followed a year later by one similar, 'A Lady and her Children relieving a Distressed Cottager.' Besides these his 'Palemon and Lavinia,' the 'Shipwrecked Sailor Boy,' and 'Youths relieving a Blind Man' were highly popular works, and were all engraved. Two good pictures from his easel are preserved in the Cottonian Museum at Plymouth.... by choice of subjects and general manner of treatment he would rightly be classed with Wheatley and Morland. He was highly popular in his day, and the best engravers were employed upon his work." (DNB).