The Collection of American Folk Art Quilts of Nena Hopkins Talcott


Turner Auctions + Appraisals is pleased to present the collection of American quilts of Nena Hopkins Talcott. Amassed over more than 15 years, this collection of 89 folk art quilts, which come from throughout the United States, were crafted from the early 1900s to the 1950s. All are handmade, many done by church ladies, probably in sewing bees. Most are full-sized, meant to top a white bedspread, adding color and artistry.

Many quilts in her collection came from the Penlands of Sonoma, California, an older couple who had connections through their church to source quilts from the Midwest. The Penlands took the quilts on consignment, then tithed 10% to their church when they sold.

Although Ms. Talcott’s initial interest in quilts was as a financial investment for her family, her appreciation grew in their artistic quality. Originally thinking she would become an artist, her works then were geometric, hard-edged paintings. So the strong geometry of the quilts’ designs and patterns greatly appealed to her. Initially, she began collecting quilts that were only navy blue and white, followed by red and white. Then her interests broadened to encompass wedding ring and applique quilts and more. Today, with limited wall space and children with contemporary taste, Nena has decided the time is right to share her collection with those who value the American craftsmanship and artistry of decades past.

Nena Talcott lives in Napa Valley, where she managed the family vineyards, olive groves and winery for 30 years. An avid cyclist and world traveler, she today is co-founder and co-partner with Bonnie Storm of Grove 45 Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This world-class olive oil in an award-winning package is sold in upscale specialty stores in the U.S. and Japan.