Born in Paris, the son of Jean-Baptiste Isabey, a painter as well, Eugène Isabey studied and worked at the Louvre Museum. Early in his career his paintings consisted of mostly watercolor landscapes. In 1820, he travelled to Normandy and Britain painting land and seascapes.
Isabey journeyed with the French Expedition to Algiers in 1830 as an illustrator. The expedition's paintings sold poorly on the market and encouraged him to switch to narrative and historical painting. He was later selected to become one of Louis-Philippe’s court painters.