(click for larger image)
This fan was auctioned a few months ago in Paris and went for €6000.
It was painted by the pupils of Saint-Cyr and given to madame de Maintenon in occasion of her name day on April 2 1699.
Saint-Cyr, or 'Maison Royale de Saint Louis', was a convent school founded by Madame de Maintenon to educate impoverished girls of noble lineage.
The age for the admission was 7 to 12. At the age of 20, the girls were given a certificate and a dowry and helped finding a decent position.
The painting shows scenes of the daily life in Saint-Cyr. Pictures of Saint-Cyr being rare, this fan is a very precious document.
Here is another interesting piece related to Saint-Cyr. It's the description and transcription (in english) of a french manuscript titled Proof of Nobility for Elizabeth Mérée d'Anqueville required for admittance to St.-Cyr.