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Peter Lord and Rhian Davies

The Art of Music: Branding the Welsh Nation (Hardback)

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In Dylan Thomas’s radio drama Under Milk Wood (1954), Revd Eli Jenkins eulogised the singing of Polly Garter with the words ‘Praise the Lord! We are a musical nation’. Visual culture has long been a vital component in the creation and dissemination of this prevalent national brand. The Art of Music describes the visualisation of Welsh music and musicians both in the context of the evolution of the self-image of the Welsh people, and of its influence on outside perceptions of Welshness within Britain and the wider world.


Peter Lord 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, and subsequently research fellow at the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies from 1996–2003. From 2007–10 he was research fellow at CREW, Swansea University. He has published and broadcast extensively on the visual culture of Wales in both Welsh and English languages, and 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 authoritative text on the subject. In 2013 an autobiography, Relationships with Pictures was published by Parthian Books. It was followed by The Tradition: a New History of Welsh Art 1400–1990, which in 2017 was Wales Non-fiction Book of the Year. His most recent publication, Looking Out: Welsh Painting, Social Class and International Context, was also published by Parthian.


Rhian Davies studied at Aberystwyth, Oxford and Bangor Universities and through Visiting Fellowships to the Lilly Library, Indiana University at Bloomington, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin, and the National Library of Australia in Canberra. Her programming, publications and documentaries have restored several composers to the repertoire, and her pictorial biography of Morfydd Owen, Never So Pure a Sight, continues to inspire performances worldwide, notably Nocturne for orchestra at the BBC Proms. Dr Davies’ pioneering research was recognised with an Honorary Fellowship from Bangor University in 2019.