She was born in Greenwich. She began her artistic studies at the Slade School; where she trained from 1899 to 1903. While there she studied with Fred Brown, Wilson Steer, Henry Tonks, and Sir W. Russell. Airy not only won the Melville Nettleship Prize in 1900, 1901 and 1902, but also won all the prizes at the Slade School including the Slade School Scholarship in 1902. Reviewing a show by the Pastel Society in 1918, Ezra Pound observed that her painting, The Fair, was “The best thing in the show. True sense of colour, a full sense of the medium” (NA 22.16:310). Her father was a famous astronomer. She became quite famous herself, and the Ipswitch Art museum now gives a prize in her name.