Brother and sister Isidore and Rosa Bonheur came from a very talented artistic family. Their father was the painter Raymond Bonheur and their sister Juliette married the founder Hippolyte Peyrol.
Isidore excelled in portraying cattle, sheep and horses. Cattle held a particular fascination for him and indeed he was so skilful at rendering the Normandy Cow that authorities on the subject recognise it as a standard for the breed. Several of his works were modelled to complement his sister's pieces, for example, his Merino Ram was paired with her Ewe.
Isidore is best known for his Animalier sculpture, whereas his sister, Rosa, was a painter first and foremost. The founder Hippolyte Peyrol edited many of their bronzes. The overriding characteristic of Isidore's bronzes is the realism of his subjects. His best and most successful works are his bronzes of horses, modelled always with an acute understanding and observation of nature. His racing bronzes are some of his most celebrated and enduring pieces, depicting portraits of both horse and jockey.
As well as his racing bronzes which were popular with the sporting market, he was also extremely skilled at producing small intricate pieces and groups. His image of a Duck and Bucket being one of his most famous.
Isidore produced a monument to his sister, Rosa, which stands at Fontainebleau and two stone lions on the steps of the Palais de Justice, Paris.