This tapestry was originally designed by Jacob Jordaens (d. 1678) to form part of The History of Alexander series around 1630. The Battle of Issus (333 BC) is one of the most well-known episodes from the life of Alexander the Great and representations of it have existed in art since the late fourth century in Greece. Two drawings by Jacob Jordaens served as preparatory studies for this tapestry: a watercolor drawing in Paris (Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Cat, No. 2b, Pl. 6) which depicts the group of figures disembarking from the boat on the right; and a pen and ink drawing in Berlin-Dahlem (Kupferstichkabinett, Cat, No. 2c, Pl. 7) for the left size of the design. An oil sketch in Antwerp (Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Cat. No. 2c, Pl.7) provided the model for the head of the man shielding himself.
A tapestry of identical design is now in Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II collection at Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh (no. 3887). Five other pieces from the same series are at the Chigi Palace, Rome, four at Toledo Cathedral.