The Oxford Dictionary defines a finial as an ornament at the top, end or corner of an object. The 10-inch tall bronze eagle that was stolen from the Gardner formed the decorative top of a flagpole to which was attached a silk flag from Napoleon’s First Regiment of Imperial Guard. The eagle stands proud, with its wings spread, almost glaring. Although they tried, the thieves were unable to remove the entire flag, which was in a case screwed to the wall of the Short Gallery, so they finally settled for the finial. The entire object hung in Mrs. Gardner’s Beacon Street house before she built the museum. The finial is gone, but the flag is still there.
— Written by Lloyd Schwartz