Terence Cuneo was born in London to artist parents who had studied with Whistler in Paris. He attended Sutton Valence School, Chelsea Polytechnic and the Slade School of Art. Initially working as an illustrator for magazines, books and periodicals, he started working in oils in 1936. He worked for the War Artists Advisory Committee during the Second World War, providing illustrations of aircraft factories and wartime events. Following the war, the London and North Eastern Railway commissioned him to produce a poster design, the first in a series of posters illustrating railways, bridges and locomotives completed over fifty years. He also designed a set of stamps commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Great Western Railway in 1985.
Cuneo was famous for his passion for engineering subjects and, although he painted a wide range of subjects, he received many commissions from industry including depictions of manufacturing and mineral extracting. Also renowned as a portrait painter, he was appointed official artist for the Coronation of Elizabeth II, the first of several portraits he produced of the Queen. He held numerous solo exhibitions, at RWS Galleries, the Sladmore Gallery and the Mall Galleries, all in London. He served as president of the Industrial Painters Group and the Society of Equestrian Artists and he was appointed OBE in 1987, followed by CVO in 1994.