Status: Probably a hoax
Last week the London Times
printed a photo that, so it claimed, was the only known photograph of Mozart's widow (Constanze), taken in 1840 at the home of Swiss composer Max Keller when she was 78 years old. (She's supposedly the woman on the far left.) However, the photo has generated controversy online, where a number of scholars have labeled it a hoax.
The Sounds & Fury blog
cites Agnes Selby, author of a biography of Constanze Mozart
, who writes that:
this is certainly not Constanze but someone's aunt. The whole story was concocted by Keller's grandson... There is absolutely no way she could have traveled to visit Maximillian Keller during the period when the photograph was taken. Contrary to the statements made in the newspaper, Constanze had no contact with Keller since 1826. There is no evidence that she had corresponded with him or visited him.
This is followed up by a message from Dr. Michael Lorenz of the University of Vienna's Institute of Musicology who points out that a) this 'newly discovered' photo has been circulating around since the 1950s and has long been thought to be a hoax, and b) "It was simply not possible in 1840 to take sharp outdoor pictures of people as long as the necessary exposure time still amounted to about three minutes. The first outdoor portraits of human beings originate from the 1850s and the picture in question definitely looks like an amateur snapshot from the 1870s."
However, this latter claim (about the technology for outdoor group-photo taking not existing in the 1840s) is contested by Dan Leeson
But overall, it doesn't seem that there's any real evidence to suggest the woman in the picture is Constanze Mozart. So this should probably be listed as a hoax.