Educated by governesses, tutors, and nuns, she was expelled from two schools, including New Hall School, Chelmsford, for her rebellious behaviour, until her family sent her to Florence, where she attended Mrs Penrose's Academy of Art. In 1927, at the age of ten, she saw her first Surrealist painting in a Left Bank gallery in Paris and later met many Surrealists, including Paul Éluard.Her father opposed her career as an artist, but her mother encouraged her. She returned to England and was presented at Court, but according to her, she brought a copy of Aldous Huxley's Eyeless in Gaza (1936) to read instead. In 1935, she attended the Chelsea School of Art in London for one year, and with the help of her father's friend Serge Chermayeff, she was able to transfer to Ozenfant Academy in London (1935–38).She became familiar with Surrealism from a copy of Herbert Read's book, Surrealism (1936), which was given to her by her mother, but she received little encouragement from her family to forge an artistic career. The Surrealist poet and patron Edward James was the champion of her work in Britain; James bought many of her paintings and arranged a show in 1947 for her work at Pierre Matisse's Gallery in New York. Some works are still hanging at James' former family home, currently West Dean College in West Dean, West Sussex..When she returned to Britain, she enrolled in the art school established by the French modernist Amédée Ozenfant
Carrington designed Mujeres conciencia (1973), a poster, for the Women's Liberation movement in Mexico, depicting a ‘new eve’.Carrington, personally and primarily focused on psychic freedom, understood that such freedom could not be achieved until political freedom is also accomplished. Through these beliefs, Carrington understood that “greater cooperation and sharing of knowledge between politically active women in Mexico and North America” was important for emancipation. Carrington’s political commitment led to her winning the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Women’s Caucus for Art convention in New York in 1986.
" I didn't have time to be anyone's muse... I was too busy rebelling against my family and learning to be an artist."