While he was fulfilling a commission to paint the Aga Khan's horse Mahmoud at Newmarket, Munnings arranged to meet a fellow painter, Fred Ewell, R.A. and paint pigs at a farm at nearby Great Thurlow.
The earliest known picture by Munnings of pigs is dated 1912 and was painted while he was living in Cornwall. He obviously enjoyed the subject as he elected to paint a 40 x 60 inch picture titled Pigs in a Wood, which he exhibited at the Royal Academy of 1927. Munnings painted a similar but smaller version of the R.A. picture which he called, A Sow and Her Piglets (see Lionel Lindsay, Pictures of Horses and English Life, 1927, p. 137). Another composition, Pigs at Great Thurlow was exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in 1947, and was executed at around the same time as the present work (see A.J. Munnings, The Second Burst, Bungay, 1951, p. 263).