The Maton Collection consists of 398 botanical, animal and mineral specimens, dating from the end of the 18th century or early 19th century. Most of the collection is still housed in its original hand blown glass jars, with parchment labelled lids. Many of the bottles have old playing cards used as coverings for the jars. These lids are mostly secured by a leather strap or string. While at Bradford University plastic coverings were places over the lids for protection. The labels are mostly in Latin, and the collection is divided into seeds, fruit, roots, gums, wood, bark, flowers, leaves, animals and minerals.
The jars are numbered from 1 to 405 and Latin abbreviations are used. Many of the jars have the inscription Ph. L. E or Linn MM. Ph. L. E. stands for the Pharmacopoeia London and Pharmacopoeia Edinburgh, two books which were standard references at the time. Linn MM stands for Materia Medica Linné, ‘Linnaeus's Materia Medica’, published in 1749. Some of the specimens have been re-bottled or boxed and according to the card catalogue for this collection, there also appears to be a few specimens missing.
Many of the botanical specimens in the collection are parts of common plants including parsley, cucumber, spinach, pumpkin, lettuce, hemp, juniper, ivy, oat, nut-meg and lavender. Many are still used in pharmacy today, while others would seem quite obscure to modern pharmaceutical practice.
The provenance of this collection is not well recorded. Maton died in 1835, seven years prior to the founding of the Pharmaceutical Society museum collection. However it is possible that his friend and the executor of his will Dr. Robert Brown, an eminent botanist and president of the Linnean Society, may have been given the collection; Brown is known to have left a large collection of materia medica to the Pharmaceutical Society upon his death in 1858.