After receiving his earliest artistic education in his native Holland, he moved in 1811 with his family to Paris where he possibly attended the studio of Prud'hon before joining that of Pierre-Narcisse Guérin (1774-1833). At first his paintings were Neo-classical in style and subject, but in the 1820s he established himself as a painter of medieval history and genre scenes. He also painted portraits, notably of the leaders of the liberal opposition to Bourbon rule, towards whose cause he was sympathetic.
During the July Monarchy of Louis-Philippe he received important commissions for royal portraits and history pieces for Versailles. Until the end of his career he also enjoyed success with sentimental religious and literary scenes which were frequently the subject of popular engravings. His daughter bequeathed many of his works to the city of Dordrecht where they can now be seen in the Dordrechts Museum.