A native of Charleston, Stevens was a factor until the time of the Revolution. He served first with the Charleston Rangers, then in the artillery, finally attaining the rank of Colonel. During the siege of Charleston in 1780 he was detained as a prisoner. Following the war he held several positions including a seat in the House of Representatives, High Sheriff for the Charleston District, Senator from St. Luke's Parish (1785-1791) and for ten years was Supervisor of Revenue of the United States for the state. He served on the City Council and was elected Intendant 1819-1820.
Where Robertson painted Stevens' portrait is not known, as the artist is not thought to have made a trip to Charleston, although several South Carolinians were painted by him. Perhaps Stevens and his daughter were in Philadelphia, New York or Newport, RI, during the period 1793-1795. Stevens is portrayed as an alert, even intense individual. The miniature, which originally may have been attached to a bracelet, is lively due to the cross-hatched brushstrokes and brilliant colors in the uniform.
This text is adapted from Martha Severens "The Miniature Portrait Collection of the Carolina Art Association" published by the Carolina Art Association, 1984