Born in Coventry, his father was a Sheffield-born bookbinder. After study at Sheffield School of Art, he was the winner of a scholarship to the Royal College of Art where the head of print making was John Nash (from 1934 to 1940). La Dell became head of lithography there from 1948 until his death.
During the war he was an official war artist and a camofleur, but he is probably best known for his lithographs of Oxford and Cambridge that he published himself, together with those he published for the School Prints scheme and Lyons Tea Rooms.
His works are widely held in the public collections, including the Royal Academy and the Government Art Collection.