Bredt travelled widely in Turkey and Tunisia, and it was the women he encountered that became the main inspiration for his work. Whether set in courtyards or interiors, his paintings are characterised by sumptuous colours and an atmosphere of languor and softness.
Afternoon Repose is wonderfully sensual work: touch is evoked by the reclining girl dipping her hand in the fountain; smell by the olenader flowers in the background; sound by the lute played by the seated girl; and sight through the wealth of surfaces, from the wall of polished tiles to the woven rug, the rippling water and the girls' robes. The whole is bathed in a soft afternoon light, with rays of sun providing accents of light from above.
The harem as a subject was a constant source of inspiration to the Orientalist painters, not least because it left so much open to the imagination, being a private space inaccessible to male painters. Bredt evokes a domestic scene of bliss and tranquility.