Annie Brassey was born Anna Allnutt to a well-to-do family in London, England. She suffered from a chronic lung disorder from childhood and was severely burned in a fireplace accident as a young woman. In 1860, at age 21, she married Thomas Brassey, a Member of Parliament, with whom she had five children. She was active in charitable work, including with the St. John Ambulance. Her husband was an enthusiastic yachtsman, and in 1876, the whole family set off with a professional crew to circumnavigate the globe aboard the Sunbeam, a luxurious steam-assisted schooner. Annie detailed their experiences and the exotic lands they visited in letters and journals that were later published as A Voyage in the Sunbeam (1878), which became a bestseller. She also published other travelogues, including In the Trades, the Tropics, and the Roaring Forties (1885). Her husband was knighted in 1881 and became Earl Brassey in 1886, making her Baroness Brassey. She died in 1887 while travelling on Thursday Island, off Cape York, Australia, and was buried at sea.