Peter Lord is the leading authority on the visual culture of Wales. He took a degree in Fine Art at Reading University in 1970. He was a visiting fellow at the Yale Center for British Art in 1994, then research fellow at the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies from 1996 to 2003 and subsequently at CREW, Swansea University. He has published and broadcast extensively in both Welsh and English languages, and has curated major exhibitions for national institutions. Between 1998 and 2003 he published the three volumes of The Visual Culture of Wales, which is regarded as the standard text on the subject. In 2009 he published The Meaning of Pictures: Images of Personal, Social and Political Identity and in 2013 an autobiography, Relationships with Pictures. In 2017, The Tradition: a New History of Welsh Art 1400–1990, was Wales Non-fiction Book of the Year.

Peter Lord is particularly interested in the work of the Welsh artisan painters of the first half of the nineteenth century, and in the art of the Great Depression, between the two world wars. In a wider context, he has written extensively on the theoretical issues that concern the history of art in nations regarded as marginal to the mainstream tradition.