Brett was a London-based landscape painter. His earliest works demonstrate a Pre-Raphaelite sensibility, with minute attention to detail. As his career progressed his work became larger in scale and broader in treatment. His seascapes number some of his most impressive pieces, culminating in Pearly Summer (1892). A Windy Day and Sunset, Low Tide are comparable in their breadth and the beauty of their light effects. Brett's interest in meteorological conditions went beyond the aesthetic; he built an astronomical observatory on the roof of his house in Putney. His success as an exhibiting artist also enabled him to hire a schooner, the Viking, in which he toured the English coast during the early 1880s, later working up those compositions conceived en route.