Skip to content

Data Portal

Explore and download the Museum’s research and collections data.

Hans Sloane's Collection of Vegetables and Vegetable Substances

Hans Sloane’s Collection of Vegetables and Vegetable Substances originally consisted of 12,752 botanical specimens, most housed in small glass and wooden boxes. Sealed inside these boxes were parts of plants such as seeds, beans, leaves, bark and gum, that were collected between the 1680s and 1750s. All sorts of people from around the world were involved in the transportation and exchange of these specimens. In London, Sloane had these items put into boxes, where they were numbered and a corresponding description of the item was entered into his manuscript catalogue.

Today, the Vegetable Substances collection comprises more than 8000 surviving specimens/boxes and the original three-volume manuscript catalogue. This dataset includes a transcription of said manuscript and all 12,752 handwritten entries. At the core of these entries is information about what the object is, and from here, the level of detail is varied. This ranges from information about people and places, local uses of plants, margin annotations (which detail cabinet and drawer numbers where Sloane kept these things in his house) to bibliographic references, and modern determinations.

Please note: This dataset preserves the data in Sloane’s catalogue in their original form to retain authenticity and facilitate research. As such, some entries contain language that may be offensive and that is not acceptable nor appropriate in an inclusive environment.

Data and Resources

Cite this as

Victoria Pickering; Charles Jarvis; Mark Carine (2023). Hans Sloane's Collection of Vegetables and Vegetable Substances [Data set]. Natural History Museum.
Retrieved: 11:04 22 Feb 2024 (UTC) BibTeX

Additional Info

Field Value
Primary contributors
Pickering, Victoria ( 0000-0002-8365-0353);
Jarvis, Charles ( 0000-0002-6652-9324);
Carine, Mark ( 0000-0002-1817-0281)
Other contributors
Last updated April 18, 2023
Last resource update April 18, 2023 (Transcription of Hans Sloane's catalogue to his collection of Vegetables and Vegetable Substances)
Created February 1, 2023
License Creative Commons Attribution