The usual appraisal of the 18th century in England as a nonreligious era is, in part, confirmed by such practices as the re-siting of churches for aesthetic rather than ecclesiastical reasons and by formal concerns, especially the general emphasis on lightness. But a substantial number of churches were erected during the second half of the century, and over 80 designs for churches were exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Society of Artists. Many of these utilized such traditional formats as the nave-aisle basilica or the hall church, though with characteristically delicate and elegant Neo-classical decoration and a penchant for attenuation. There were others, however, that exhibited a fascination with unusual shapes, ranging from octagons and ovals to Greek crosses, triangles, circles, and squares. Similarly, the late 18th-century concern both for archaeology and for stark, powerful, and plain surfaces is also evident in executed churches and unexecuted designs. Perhaps most clearly epitomizing the divergent tendencies of this age in terms of shape, decoration, and overall character are such dramatically different examples as Stuart and Newton's Greenwich Chapel of 1782-1788 and Bonomi's Great Packington of 1789-1792. Most of the other major architects of the period, from Adam and Chambers to Dance, Wyatt, and Soane, also produced designs that reflect the interaction of architecture and religion at a time when both of these forces were undergoing substantial change.

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