Historical and landscape painter. Born at Silvermills House in Edinburgh, the son of a tannery owner and the younger brother of Robert Scott Lauder (1803-69), Lauder was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and then the Trustees' Academy under Sir William Allan (1782 - 1850) and Thomas Duncan (1807-45). He joined his brother in Italy in 1834 and remained there for four years. In 1841, he toured the west of Scotland with music-publisher and amateur photographer John Muir Wood (1805-92). Lauder was elected a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1846.
In the 1840s he produced notable historical and biblical paintings, including the Parable of Forgiveness which won him a prize of £200 in 1847. Other works included Scene from The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1841), James Watt and the Steam Engine (1855) and a portrait of Sir Walter Scott. In the late 1850s he turned to painting landscapes, but his later work was disappointing.
He died unmarried in Edinburgh.