Isidore Jules Bonheur was born in Bordeaux in 1827. The son of the painter Raymond Bonheur and brother of the famous Rosa, he received his early tuition, including painting studies, from his father. In 1849 he went to Paris where he entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He made his debut at the Salon of 1848 with a picture and a plaster group of a Cavalier Africain Attaque par un Lion. He regularly exhibited at the Salon and elsewhere, winning medals in 1865 and in 1869, and also the prized Gold Medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1889. He was awarded the Legion d’honneur in 1895. Bonheur produced two monumental works which figure in 19th Century French heritage - the monument to his sister Rosa at Fontainebleu, and two stone lions on the steps of the Palais de Justice in Paris. Bonheur specialised in small figure and animal groups, such as Charging Bull, and became part of the group of animal sculptors of the late 19th Century known as “Les Animaliers”.