Brown's family would move constantly around Northern Europe and this allowed the artist to draw in a variety of artistic experiences from an early age. He was known to have studied the work of Hans Holbein, for example, in great detail and also took in the likes of Friedrich Overbeck and Peter Cornelius. His journeys carried on throughout his entire lifetime and took in artistic nations such as Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and France. The artistic style that he eventually settled on was most similar to two fellow British painters, in William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.
These connections immediately draws him close to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but he never in fact became a member of this respected group. He may have found some of their guidelines to have been overly restrictive but he was able to forge his own path successfully relatively independantly. The artist managed to achieve relatively good sums for his work at the point at which he had peaked, reputation-wise, but it was not always an easy ride for him and he took many years in order to establish himself. It was once he had reached his forties that things started to become easier for this hardworking and dedicated artist.
The artist suffered considerable tragedy in his early years, losing his parents, sister and later on his wife. It was these incidents which eventually persuaded him to finally settle for an extended period, choosing the English capital city, London. He was brought up with continental art influences and studied under students of Jacques-Louis David for several years. The wills which passed to him did at least in a positive sense allow him to concentrate on his art without worrying too much about covering his financial overheads. Without this freedom he would likely never have been able to take on so many different mediums during his career and would have had to focus on sellable art instead.