Adrian Daintrey was born in Balham, London on 23 June 1902, the youngest of three children of Ernest Daintrey, a solicitor and his wife Lucy Mary (née Blagdon). He was educated at Charterhouse School, where he developed his artistic skills, at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1920 to 1924, and then at the École du Louvre and L'Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris. He gathered a wide circle of friends including the artists Augustus John, Nina Hamnett and Rex Whistler.
He shared his first exhibition with Paul Nash at Dorothy Warren's Gallery in 1928. During World War II, he served widely abroad. After the war he held shows at his studio to promote his work. He worked for Punch magazine as an art critic from 1953 to 1961. From the late 1960s he taught part-time at the City and Guilds of London Art School. He died in Islington in 1988, having resided at the Charterhouse almshouse as a Brother from 1984-1988.